Sam Smith seems to embrace his position in music as the voice people want to listen to when they’re sad, even going far as saying himself in September, “I’ll never write happy songs.” There is definitely an audience for Smith’s vulnerability, given his debut album The Lonely Hour was the biggest-selling album of 2014.
So then it shouldn’t come by surprise that his sophomore album, The Thrill Of It All, which the 25-year-old released Nov. 3, is laced with lyrics either inspired by heartbreak or morose enough to make listeners everywhere frown in empathy while saying “Yes! Me too!” to themselves.
Below are 10 of the most heartbreaking lyrics The Thrill Of It All has to offer. All lyrics provided via Genius.
“Too Good at Goodbyes”
“I’m never gonna let you close to me / Even though you mean the most to me / ‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts”
In the album’s lead single (out Sept. 8), Smith told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe the song is “about a relationship I was in and it’s basically about getting good at getting dumped.”
“Nothing Left For You”
“I’ll never love again, I’ll never love you / ‘Cause I gave, my heart, to a goddamn fool / I gave him everything / Now there’s nothing left for you”
Smith sings about opening himself up to someone who, it turns out, never deserved it. The battering his heart took in that relationship has made him very hesitant to open up again, even if the current person after his affections is worthy. He has nothing left to give.
“It’s been a long five years / I’ve cried a thousand tears, and here we are after the war”
Any time somebody admits he has cried a thousand tears, that immediately qualifies as heartbreaking. But actually, if you listen to this song all the way through the message is uplifting. Smith sings of how the support his mother and father have given him have “cleared up my scars.” Even when positive, Smith includes the hurt it takes to get there.
“Holy Father, we need to talk / I have a secret, that I can’t keep / I’m not the boy that, you thought you wanted / Please don’t get angry, have faith in me”
“HIM” tells the story of a young man coming out to his Holy father and, more abstractly, his father. On Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Nov. 7, John said “HIM” is “one of the best songs written in the last 10 years.”
— Beats 1 (@Beats1) November 7, 2017
“Am I a monster? What will your family think of me?”
“Midnight Train” provides an inner monologue of Smith, who has to break up with someone he loves because he knows deep down that they won’t last forever. In the aftermath of the break-up, not only will Smith miss his lover but also his lover’s family whom he has come to love, too.
“Say It First”
“I’m used to emptiness in my heart / And in my arms”
Even when Smith suggests a song is the “only positive love song” he’s ever written, there’s still some gut-wrenching feelings intertwined. As for “Say It First,” Smith feels the love he’s singing of is all too good to be true because of past betrayals.
— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) November 8, 2017
“One Last Song”
“You made me sad ‘til I loved the shade of blue / I know you don’t want to talk to me, so this is what I will do / Maybe you’re listening, so here’s one last song for you”
It’s speculated that this song is about the subject of The Lonely Hour — a man that Smith fell deeply in love with even though it was unrequited (a topic Smith sings about often). “One Last Song” is just that — a final message for that man, indirectly through Smith’s music because he can’t talk to him.
“Baby, You Make Me Crazy”
“What are you to do, when the person that you love just says no?”
“Why do I always fall for the ones who have no courage? / I must see some kind of beauty in their eyes”
Two different verses from this song — couldn’t help it. In “Baby, You Make Me Crazy,” Smith is trying to reconcile a breakup. He sings of his loved ones taking him out to distract him from his pain (“Anything to drown you out tonight”), but even in the midst of the fun, Smith can’t get certain questions out of his head.
“Leader of the Pack”
“He was only 22, lost his mother age of two / He lost it, he lost it all”
A looser narrative, track No. 15 examines a young man and young woman who were forced to grow up prematurely due to tragic circumstances.
Spin The Thrill Of It All in its entirety and get ready to feel all the feels.