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
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 http://tinyurl.com/p6wc9m8