New music: Sam Smith, Bon Iver

  • Updated: July 5, 2014 - 1:00 AM

"In the Lonely Hour" by Sam Smith


Sam Smith, “In the Lonely Hour” (Capitol)

Smith’s path to stardom began with his vocal turn on “Latch,” the breakout single from dance duo Disclosure, fellow Brits. A “Saturday Night Live” gig this spring sealed the deal for the 22-year-old who has been dubbed the “male Adele.” “In The Lonely Hour” is an auspicious beginning built on sincerity and vulnerability. Smith possesses a supple tenor that moves startlingly up into falsetto range. From start to finish here, he uses it express his regrets over a love affair that never came to fruition. “I put everything out there, and I got nothing at all,” he sings in “Good Thing.” At a young age, Smith is a seasoned vocalist who knows how to employ his voice with subtlety, and while his one-dimensional writing could use a little work, he’s already got the knack for the time-honored practice of singing it like he means it.

dan deluca, Philadelphia Inquirer

streaming audio

We like to make a big fuss over Bon Iver, the Grammy-winning pride of Eau Claire, Wis., but his new song, “Heavenly Father,” for the soundtrack to Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here,” is one big meditative drone. Listen to it at NPR Music

jon bream

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