In the Lonely Hour
Nominated by Aoife Nowell
Sam Smith has endured more than a lonely hour, judging by his debut album. It’s been a lonely eternity for him, very bitter-sweet and simply beautiful in places.
Always wanting and waiting, confused and defeated, but keeping on. I can see why he’s got lots of teenaged fans. The lyrics are grasping for a romantic paradise that’s always out of reach.
But this isn’t packaged angst pop. Smith is a good songwriter who’s testing his amazing soul voice.
Money on my Mind, Stay with Me, Like I Can and La La La (I’m covering my ears like a kid) are big, passionate songs.
Some tracks take me back to the 80s, when I was a teenager into pop. Slap bass and sophisticated funk soul was music for ‘older’ people then, so it automatically sounds ‘older’ now. How can I de-programme myself and hear those sounds for the first time?
I prefer it when voices like Smith’s keep it simple, steering clear of ‘over-souling’ which squeezes lots of notes into each syllable.
Which brings me to my favourite song on this favourite album, I’m not the Only One, which is simply perfect. Piano, a persistent back-beat tying it together, and brilliant lyrics.
You say I’m crazy,
’cause you don’t think I know what you’ve done
But, when you call me baby,
I know that I’m not the only one.
Sam’s lonely but his songs are truthful and it’s worth keeping him company.