Sam Smith reclaims their youth in “Love Goes,” their most intimate and vulnerable album to date.
Smith’s full-length album was highly anticipated prior to its Oct. 30 release. Their two former albums, “In The Lonely Hour” and “The Thrill of it All,” had come out three years apart, in 2014 and 2017.
“Love Goes” features collaborations with artists from a variety of genres, further cementing Smith’s ability to sing across a variety of musical genres without seeming inauthentic. Those collaborations include songs with Burna Boy, Labrinth, Normani, Demi Lovato and Calvin Harris.
“Promises,” Smith’s track with Harris and Jessie Reyez, teased listeners in the summer of 2018. Smith concludes “Love Goes” with “Promises,” perhaps as a release from the heartbreak and emotional journey they sing through.
It was a year after the release of “Promises” that Smith announced their pronouns, they/them, on Instagram.
“I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to they/them,” Smith said in the post. “After a lifetime of being at war with my gender, I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out.”
Months before Smith announced their pronouns, they had released the music video to “How Do You Sleep?” where they flawlessly displayed a freer self. The music video, choreographed by Parris Goebel, featured Smith and their dancers dancing uninhibitedly and served as a contrast from the more stationary and rigid movements seen from Smith in the past. The joy in Smith’s face when dancing is infectious and is sure to have you swaying your hips from side to side along with them.
The dancing continues on this album as Smith bids farewell to an avaricious love interest in the song, “Diamonds.”
“All the special things that I bought / They mean nothing to me anymore / But to you / They were everything we were / They mean more than every word / Now I know just what you love me for,” Smith sings.
As the song gains momentum, Smith gains the strength to tell this person to leave.
“Take all the money you want from me/ Hope you become what you want to be,” Smith sings.
The music video for “Diamonds” was directed by Luke Monaghan, a familiar collaborator to Smith. The two have worked together on Smith’s previous hits, including “Too Good at Goodbyes” and “Not The Only One.” The familiarity between the two allowed for Monaghan to capture all of Smith’s emotions.
Monaghan even shared a behind-the-scenes look at the music video on Instagram. Smith is happy, mad and sad in this video, embodying all of these feelings as choreographed by Holly Blakey.
Smith is most powerful in vulnerability in the title track, “Love Goes,” which features Labrinth. It is a song that instrumentally captures the emotions of a relationship coming to its end. There is pain and hurt coming from the piano, but halfway through, there is triumph and reassurance from the trumpets.
“I hope you understand / That I have to send you away / You may not understand / But I know that you will one day,” Labrinth sings.
Smith does not lay sole blame on their partner in the song; rather, holding themself accountable for their part in the relationship.
“I tried to change you / Tried to make you into someone else / I guess the only one I’m fooling / Is my stupid self,” Smith sings.
There is no perfect formula for how to succeed in life or its endeavors, love included, especially in one’s younger years. Smith does not shy away from our juvenile naivete. Instead, Smith embraces it, making “Love Goes” an album that will resonate with audiences for years to come.