Sam Smith: ‘Love Goes’ One Year Later
By Katie Bray
Sam Smith (they/them) has been at the forefront of British pop for several years. Largely for songs like ‘Stay With Me’, the James Bond track ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’, and ‘Pray’. They have released three albums, all of which have been great successes.
However, the newest, ‘Love Goes’, was written amidst the restrictions of the current pandemic. COVID-19 meant that this album would be promoted and written mainly in lockdown. Yet, this did not impact the beauty and ingenuity of Sam Smith’s music.
They debuted their new album treating fans across the world to an intimate livestream experience at Abbey Road Studios back in October 2020. A year on, I still have fond memories of the online concert and their music.
That day I sampled a few of the songs before the concert began. As soon as I heard ‘Forgive Myself’ I was reminded why I have always enjoyed their music; the passion, the vulnerability, the falsettos. These elements portray this sense of loss and heartbreak that Smith’s work is often familiar with. I was almost shivering upon first listening!
After support act Zoey Wee, the cameras then transitioned to Sam Smith sat amidst the darkness. A singular yellow spotlight shone across their face as they began singing amongst the layers of other worldly vocals.
Sam Smith combines their individual talent with that of wonderful composers and creatives to create something magical even a year on!
After this, Smith sang ‘Diamonds’ with accompanying singers and a wider range of instruments, forming a community within the experience. This was especially noticeable through Smith’s laughter and occasional dancing with other singers/bandmates lighting up the night with merriment and excitement.
Another element of Smith’s new album that made this so pleasurable were the danceable rhythms of some of the new songs, i.e. ‘Dancing With A Stranger’, ‘How Do You Sleep’ and ‘Golden Rings’. These evoked an almost party-like atmosphere, breathing life into their performance. A particularly unique aspect of the stream was the insight gained by behind the scenes footage of the rehearsals sharing Smith’s perspective on the creative experience.
“An interpretation – simply an experience of emotion”
In reviewing the album, I would describe it as an interpretation simply an experience of emotion, with songs like ‘Love Goes’ fluctuating between the vulnerability and strength of the vocals across the song and their rising and falling tremolos and the thin textures. This then builds to triumphant fanfares with a faster tempo and expressive vocalisations, instead highlighting a celebration of love perhaps. Other amazing songs include ‘To Die For’ and ‘For The Lover That I Lost’ which truly highlight the range and capability of the artist’s voice.
Ever since I saw Smith rise to the stage dramatically draped across the chair singing ‘Burning’ in their 2018 concert, I have been hooked on their music, and even before then Smith’s heartfelt melodies had always held a strong position in my music library. Sam Smith guarantees the audience a wonderful flair, emotion and reflection through their music.
Smith’s newest work is truly an evidence of their evolution as an artist.
Smith’s style has flourished ever since their debut album, experimenting with genres and sound across their musical career and reinventing previous songs even in this 2020 concert, making this album an accumulation of this journey. I feel that the 2020 album focused primarily on love, with its ups and downs, making this new album the full package, and one which I have been returning to repeatedly since its release one year ago!
As a result, I would highly recommend giving Sam Smith a listen. If you have never heard their music before, this album is a great place to start to understand the sheer variety of their sounds, and how loving and nostalgic their music truly can be. I am especially excited to see what they do in the next few years with their music.
You can catch our review of The Thrill of It All back in 2017 here!
You can listen to Sam Smith on Spotify here!