Sam Smith – Gloria

An impassioned, deep and bold fourth album from the vocally versatile artist...

Sam Smith has never shied away from baring their soul, but with their fourth album ‘Gloria’, these emotions have gone through somewhat of a metamorphosis from self doubt and despondency and tears to self-acceptance, self-discovery and somewhat of a reawakening for the singer which can be found front and centre throughout this album. 

Building from the success and sonic shift of their critically acclaimed 2020 predecessor, ‘Love Goes’, ‘Gloria’ feels like something of a new era of sound and musicality for Sam. There’s still the standout soulful, almost otherworldly vocals from the Londoner, but this is a more punchy, more seductive and indeed more euphoric offering from them.

Sam weaves in storytelling of historical accounts from the LGBTQ+ community in Dorothy’s Interlude’ which features uplifting audio references to celebrate their sexuality. From excerpts from filmmaker Lilli Vincenz’s documentary Gay And Proud from the 70s to the fabulous Judy Garland singing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz, this is a notable and empowering collection of significant moments that celebrate queer pride.

There are exciting collaborations with a range of stellar stars who all have their chance to shine. From Ed Sheeran on the tender ‘Who We Love’ to Kim Petras, Koffee and Jessie Reyez who collaborates with Sam on ‘Perfect’ which is a pure celebration of owning who you are. It’s a bass-heavy, sultry track where Sam sings about they are not perfect but that they are ‘worth it’.

Rapper Jessie Reyez and Jamaican artist Koffee prove that three is a magic number with the infectious ‘Gimme’, a glitter-infused dancehall stormer that is all about desire has effervescent vibes and a bold and intoxicating rhythm that will be a dance floor staple for years to come. 

The glitzy synthpop sexually-charged alt pop single ‘Unholy’ with Kim Petras which has become a Tik Tok hit focuses on adultery, throbs and thrusts with lines like ‘Mummy don’t know daddy’s getting hot, at the body shop, doing something unholy’.

There’s still touches of Sam’s vulnerability at times on the album’s opener ‘Love Me More’ with lyrics like ‘Feeling like the mirror isn’t good for your health’, but this evolves into Sam’s personal growth and how they let it go with lines like: “It used to burn / Every insult, every word / But it helped me learn (yeah)…”

On the title track ‘Gloria’, Smith advocates the importance of self-love, overcoming self-contempt and the positives of being yourself. This track feels like a cathartic release for Smith who describes it as a “my queer love hymn” and decrees ‘Gloria’ as the “fighter voice in all of us…”

Decadent, dance-fuelled and defiant, Smith’s fourth album not only showcases their impressive vocal versatility and musical prowess, but it also shows an edgier and more playful side both to their personality and music. It’s anthemic, eclectic and is a powerhouse of a record that feels like they are having more fun and giving a more ‘zero fucks’ attitude than ever before and we are here for it!


Words: Emma Harrison

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