June 16, 2024

“Gloria,” released Jan. 27, marks Sam Smith’s fourth album. Audiences first glimpsed the sound of Smith’s new album nearly a year ago, when the single ‘Love Me More’ dropped on April 18. A self-love ballad, it was the perfect initial song, with a message that trickled nicely into the overall theme of the entire “Gloria” album.

Smith’s third album, “Love Goes,” was released in 2020, and it was filled with songs pertaining to love and anguish, described by The New York Times as “intimacy blown up to the cinematic scale.” Although excellently crafted, “Love Goes” was geared toward the hurt and heartbroken. With “Love Me More,” audiences became aware that this time around, the message was going to be different. The new Sam Smith era carries a different message — one of healing, realization and most importantly, confidence.

“Unholy” featuring Kim Petras was the second single to drop from “Gloria” on Sept. 22. The single was a commercial success, hitting the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and receiving a Grammy nomination. Making “Unholy” the second single to be released was a smart tactic, especially since the addictive tune was great for TikTok (on which it began trending) and made fans aware that Sam Smith is back to stay.

The final single that was released from “Gloria” was “Gimme” featuring Koffee and R&B singer Jessie Reyez. If the other singles were tastes of the album, “Gimme” was a whole bowl. With a beat that is impossible not to dance to, “Gimme” empowers listeners to feel good. Jessie Reyez, a strong vocalist herself who hit the scene in 2017 with “Figures,” not only adds her own personality to the song, but also adds flavor to the entire “Gloria” album, as she is featured in two other songs.

After two long weeks post “Gimme” release, “Gloria” finally landed. With “No God” following “Love Me More” on the track list, Smith seemingly explains a realization to fans: No longer should we be sad about those who broke our hearts; rather, we should realize that they are not gods. They mess up and we should be confident enough to call them out on it. The song takes a new tune, one that is catchy enough to sing along with after just a couple listens and one that leaves you feeling invigorated.

The next song, “Lose You,” catches Smith in a tough spot. The song has an ‘80s dance beat and Smith admits to still wanting a lover back. However, unlike Smith’s previous sorrowful songs, this one is set to a fast-paced track that sends the message that Smith is still in control, and the admission to wanting one back showcases confidence, not insecurity.

“Perfect” featuring Jessie Reyez is another admission to having flaws. Reyez and Smith seamlessly work together to create a beautiful song, one that reassures listeners that they are enough, with lyrics saying “I’m not perfect, but I’m worth it.”

“How to Cry” proceeds “Perfect,” and it is the song that most resembles Smith’s previous works. However, it still fits the theme of “Gloria” because instead of being self-pitying and sad, it is another upbeat admission to seeing someone as they truly are. Mostly acoustic, Smith’s vocals shine through, and OG fans are sure to appreciate the throwback sound.

The album finishes with a feature from Ed Sheeran on “Who We Love.” Despite being a slower-paced track, it concludes the album on a happy note. Romantic and harmonious, it is everything expected from a Sheeran/Smith collab.

Overall, “Gloria” is a masterpiece, meaning that Sam Smith has accomplished the difficult task of making perfect albums back to back.

Yet, the albums are all different, so if you get tired of dancing to “Gloria,” you can take a break with “Love Goes” and vice versa.

The only drawback to the album? The short and sad 33-minute play time. But, I have a good feeling that there will be a deluxe album coming soon…

5 out of 5 stars.

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