Gloria – Sam Smith
Kassidy Wiskari February 20, 2023
By: Kassidy Wiskari
Sam Smith is a singer and songwriter from London, England who has been making a name for themself since 2012. They have been pretty consistently charting in the UK and US since 2013, some of their popular tracks being “Stay With Me,” “I’m Not the Only One” and “Dancing with a Stranger.” They currently have 75,163,220 monthly listeners. This new album, Gloria, came out on January 23rd, 2023 with 13 songs and a runtime of 33 minutes and 10 seconds.
Overall, Smith has always had a bit of a jazzy sultry twist on pop music. They are definitely known for their incredible ballads and this album was no exception. The album starts strong with “Love Me More,” an upbeat tribute to self love which has Smith’s classic sound. This is one of my top songs on this album; it’s super catchy and easily relatable, a great way to set the scene for the tracks to follow. Another great track is “How To Cry,” a slow and vibe-y ballad backed by acoustic guitar. This song talks about Smith’s feelings of betrayal and heartbreak by a person who never learned to be emotionally vulnerable. I’m really drawn to this song because it absolutely drips with emotion. You can feel the pain in Smith’s voice as they sing.
The most iconic and anticipated track of this album was definitely “Unholy (feat. Kim Petras).” Smith teased the chorus of the song on TikTok and was met with an uproar of support for the second single release of the album. Upon the release, the audience was split down the middle. Many thought the chorus lacked the power they expected, and I would have to agree. It is definitely a catchy song, but it feels a bit too kitschy for the album and Smith’s overall sound. However, Kim Petras’ feature adds variety to the sound and the two artists’ voices blend in an unexpected way to make for a satisfying ending to the song.
This album flowed really well and was overall super cool to listen to. The songs felt very purposeful with a choral sound woven through, a reference to the titular track “Gloria” which features Smith vocalizing over a spiritual choral sound. There is a clear contrast with the themes of this album and others that Smith has put out. Smith was quoted in Refinery29 saying that this piece essentially explores an “emotional, sexual, and spiritual liberation”. They also said that since they were getting comfortable writing about heartbreak, they wanted something more positive and self-righteous.
Favorite Tracks: “Love Me More,” “How To Cry,” and “Who We Love (feat. Ed Sheeran)”