Love Goes explores breakups in typical stunning, heart-wrenching Sam Smith fashion.
Sam Smith is back with their newest album, Love Goes, their first release in over 3 years since The Thrill of It All. A sorrowful, painfully honest piece, it certainly caught my attention.
Despite not being the biggest lover of break-up albums, or albums that circulate around one particular topic in general, I found myself quickly enraptured by Love Goes. Maybe it was Sam Smith‘s stunning vocals, the quiet, seamless combination of piano and synth beats, or the raw lyrics, but Love Goes had me sat back and listening to it from start to finish over and over again. Heartbreak is no new topic for the average pop singer; I could probably name you 10 albums off the top of my head that focus on the topic from the last year alone. The subject of Smith’s newest album isn’t a new one, but this doesn’t take away from the LP as a good piece of work in its own right.
At a whopping 17 tracks, Smith allows themself plenty of time to explore their emotions post a seemingly very tough breakup (just listen to the album to see what I mean), and does so in a smooth, beautifully sculpted fashion. The album combines elements of dance, pop, R&B and soft-pop, taking you on a varied journey through Smith’s myriad of feelings, from beat-heavy dance tracks at the beginning of the album (‘Diamonds’, ‘My Oasis’), to quieter ballads in the latter half (‘The Lover I Have Lost’, ‘Love Goes’, ‘Forgive Myself’). The variation between styles keeps the listener constantly engaged, with Love Goes refusing to allow oneself to lose focus.
‘The Lover I Have Lost’ is a definite favourite. I’m a sucker for ballads, especially ones with a beautiful orchestral element behind it, and ‘The Lover I Have Lost’ shines through on Love Goes as one of the best songs. ‘Breaking Hearts’ stands out for the same reason. Although kind of cheesy with the leading line of the chorus (”While you were busy breaking hearts// I was busy breaking”), it still ebbs and flows in a graceful, elegant fashion. ‘Forgive Myself’, the 9th song on the album, feels more like a private letter than a song and is perhaps the rawest on the album. A love letter to a past partner, set against a soft piano tune and strings that slowly build, ‘Forgive Myself’ truly lets Smith’s vocals shine, allowing them to rise and fall as they sing of moving on for the betterment of ones own mental health. Ballads act as the foundation of the album, despite Smith’s claim that the album would be dispersed with more heavy pop tracks than The Thrill Of It All, but I’ve no complaints; I’m happy with any song that shows off Smith’s vocal talents, and ballads are the perfect medium for this. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, ‘Diamonds’, the albums first single, is also up there as one of the best tracks on the LP, as well as ‘Dancing With a Stranger’, but maybe that’s just because I’m weak for anything Normani has literally anything to do with.
The number one track on the album, however, in my opinion, has got to be the titular track, ‘Love Goes’, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a big fan of Labrinth. The combination between synths, strings and piano, with soft vocals and softer beats, combines the feelings of the beginning and end of Love Goes perfectly, acting as a bridge between the dance and soft-pop elements of the LP. Labrinth and Smith’s voices mix gorgeously together, building up like a crescendo to a musical interlude combining trumpets, heavy beats and synths. It’s stunning and the epitome of the sounds of the whole album.
I know we’re in 2020, and we’ve come so far with representation, but there’s still something so gratifying as an LGBTQA+ person seeing an LGBT album, created by a genderqueer musician, be so central in the public eye. It would be remiss to not comment on how ridiculously happy this makes me. We might be in a more progressive time than say 10 years ago, but it’s still so wonderful to see yourself reflected in popular music, so different to the heteronormative music that usually dominates the charts; not that said music is bad, but it’s not always relatable to LGBT people.
Although the newest album from Sam Smith is nothing original with its topic of choice, it’s still an absolutely beautiful and deeply satisfying listen, proving once again that Smith might be the leading voice in the heartbreak genre.
Love Goes is available to listen to now via Capitol Records. Check out ‘How Do You Sleep?’ down below.