In The Lonely Hour is Sam Smith's debut solo studio album that was released on May 26, 2014 by Capitol Records and Method.
- Money On My Mind
- Good Thing
- Stay With Me
- Leave Your Lover
- I'm Not The Only One
- I've Told You Now
- Like I Can
- Life Support
- Not In That Way
- Lay Me Down
- Latch (Acoustic)
- La La La (with Naughty Boy)
- Make It To Me
On December 16, 2013, it was announced that Sam Smith's debut studio album would be released on May 26, 2014 through Capitol Records. On January 7, 2014, Smith unveiled the artwork and tracklisting for the first time.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Smith described the overarching theme of his album as "sad".
Talking about the name of the album, he said: "People are saying, 'Oh but it's too sad', but that's what it's about. I was sad, heartbroken, and I wrote about being sad. Hopefully I'll be happier soon and I'll write about that."
He also said in an interview with The Line of Best Fit that the most personal song in this album is "Good Thing."
In another interview with Digital Spy, when asked to describe the album, he said: "My debut album is just a diary from a lonely 21-year-old. That's what it is. It was my way of talking about the only real issue in my life. I don't have that many sad things going on in my life and it was the only thing that was really affecting me last year: I fell in love with someone who didn't love me back, and it made me get into this head space of, 'Will I find a man to love? When will I find love?' This album is my 'fuck off' to everyone and basically say, 'No, I have been in love with a man and, if anything, it was much more painful than your version', because I'm not getting what I want with a man and it's so close I can almost taste him. So, it's my way of defining what is love, and how unrequited love is just as painful, just as powerful, as what we call 'normal' love."
"In The Lonely Hour" debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart (outselling Coldplay's album, "Ghost Stories"). During its first five weeks after its release, it had sold 228,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
As of December 2015, the album has sold 2,140,000 copies in total, including 893,000 units sold in 2015.
In the United States, the album debuted at peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling 160,000 copies during its first week (making it the largest debut for a solo artist's debut album since Phillip Phillips' debut album, "The World from the Side of the Moon" launched with 169,000 at #4 on the chart).
As of December 2015, the album has sold 2.228 million copies in the United States and has also sold 12 million copies worldwide.
"In the Lonely Hour" received generally lukewarm reviews from critics.
At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 62, based 24 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
In The Observer, Kitty Empire appreciated how restrained and emotionally authentic Smith's singing sounds, crediting him for avoiding any exaggerated belting, although she lamented the music's lack of adventurousness.
Lily Moayeri from The A.V. Club felt most of the songs are monotonous and lack depth, writing that they are instead showcases for Smith's "rich" voice on an album that is not as good as its singles.
Q was more critical, especially of the album's second half, writing that it "declines into self-pity, windy balladry and squeaky-strings-as-authenticity cliché."
Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph was unimpressed by most of the songwriting and the music, calling it a watered-down version of soul.
Robert Christgau was more enthusiastic in his blog for Vice, writing that Smith's charmingly catchy pop songs cohere into a portrait of a man whose insecurity about love is expressed more sincerely than most other artists without indulging in self-pity: "Both vocally and verbally, they offer the kind of emotional complexity about sexual romance's ins and outs that good pop captures better than good literature, where cynicism is such a folkway."
Lauren Murphy from The Irish Times was impressed by the variety in which Smith and his producers use his voice throughout In the Lonely Hour, which she viewed as a sign of promise with songs "so understated yet so vibrant and accomplished."