To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, it’s obvious that Sam Smith is a singer of big, grand, safe, sweeping ballads. He is this generation’s king of the adult-contemporary airwaves, and holding down that lane has been working out for him. He just won an Oscar last week, after all. Once upon a time, though, it looked like Smith was more of a dance-music type. He got his start singing on Disclosure’s “Latch,” after all, and his first solo single was the sparkling, fleet-footed dance-pop jam “Money On My Mind.” For some of us, that’s the best Sam Smith song. But Sam Smith doesn’t feel that way.
Billboard recently interviewed Smith about the state of his forthcoming sophomore album. And in the course of talking about the new one, he spoke a bit about his debut, 2014’s In The Lonely Hour. Here’s what Smith said about his first album:
There’s a few songs I really [expletive] hate, but then the core of the album, songs like “Stay With Me,” “I’m Not The Only One” — actually all the songs except “Money On My Mind” — I really love and I’m really proud of the classic-ness of the way they sound, because I still listen to them now and I still love them. The music I’m making at the moment, it’s very much a beautiful little transition from there and it fits…
As soon as “Latch” had a lot of success in the UK, my label and me had a little bit of a panic. We were like, “Maybe we should be doing dance?” And that’s what I can hear on [my first] album — there’s two or three songs where I can hear the little wobble, but the rest of the album is what I set out to make from the beginning.
So we should probably not count on Sam Smith to suddenly become interesting on album #2.