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Adele (music artist)
Sam Smith finds strength in vulnerability on 'In the Lonely Hour'
Sam Smith finds strength in vulnerability on 'In the Lonely Hour'

So much about Sam Smith’s debut album suggests a kind of weakness. For starters, there’s the young British soul singer’s voice, a supple tenor that he often pushes into falsetto – high and striking, certainly, but seemingly as delicate as rain. Then there are his lyrics on “In the Lonely Hour,” which Smith has said describe his desperate feelings regarding a single lover – or, rather, someone he wishes had been his lover but who spurned his advances. “Why am I so emotional?” he asks himself in “Stay With Me,” just one of this album’s many moments of brutal introspection, “No, it’s not a good look / Gain some self-control.” Yet beneath the tissue lies muscle. A detailed document of...

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