• Record Label: Capitol
  • Release Date: Jun 17, 2014

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
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  1. Jun 17, 2014
    Smith bares more than his vocal cords on this record. Every story of unrequited love that's been put to song is powerful in its own right.
  2. Only in a few songs does he draw on soul’s common language of strain and overstatement and it’s exciting when he does. At his most forceful he can sound like Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall. Far more often he’s in the erudite territory of Smokey Robinson, letting his falsetto waft ever higher.
  3. Jun 17, 2014
    In the Lonely Hour is a mostly fantastic debut that is more than deserving of a double dip.
  4. May 27, 2014
    It’s universally accessible, and it’s the kind of pop that has the potential to dominate the charts and win over hearts during festival slots.
  5. Jun 20, 2014
    Where Smith will follow his muse next is anyone’s guess, but for now, his talent is a clear force to be reckoned with and his debut is ripe with promise.
  6. Jun 18, 2014
    Just when you've started to grow weary of Smith's pity party, it's over. And there are enough moments of genuine musical, lyrical, and vocal virtuosity and soul to crack even the most hardened listener's icy heart.
  7. May 27, 2014
    This is an understated and promising first step from an unpredictable and distinctive talent.
  8. Jun 17, 2014
    As singles, the LP works. But as a whole product, listeners could start wondering if they hit “repeat” by accident.
  9. Q Magazine
    Jul 2, 2014
    In The Lonely Hour starts promisingly.... The second half declines into self-pity, windy balladry and squeaky-strings-as-authenticity cliche. [Aug 2014, p.110]
  10. Jun 18, 2014
    When Smith gets a little feistier (his last resort), the songs feel more ambitious; but it’s the more minimal, quiet ones that hit home emotionally.
  11. Jun 17, 2014
    While the album flirts with a few radiant moments, Smith's endless yearning isn't wrapped in as many irresistible packages.
  12. May 27, 2014
    Thematic monomania is one thing, but musically, In the Lonely Hour could have done with more variety.
  13. May 27, 2014
    Smith's vocals are spot-on throughout, save for the odd Mariah-esque trickle towards X Factor auditionee theatrics, and find themselves paired with as pitch-perfect a production as has been heard all year.
  14. May 27, 2014
    While he has talent and likability, it's a shame this album is not a little freakier, a little riskier--a little lonelier.
  15. Jun 23, 2014
    In the Lonely Hour is less meaningless and vapid than a song as unapologetically hammy as “Classic,” but the result is unfortunately the same.
  16. Jun 18, 2014
    In the Lonely Hour is inexpressive and hard to sit through despite being built for easy listening.
  17. Jun 19, 2014
    In the Lonely Hour comes from a personal place, it doesn't end up feeling like a very personal record.
  18. Jun 6, 2014
    Apart from perhaps three exceptions, most of these tracks get lost in their own elegant, introspective and lovelorn swirl of tedious easy listening.
  19. 50
    Smith’ sugary falsetto comes across a tad one dimensional and inexpressive on his solo debut In The Lonely Hour.
  20. 42
    Smith plays it safe, joining the growing crop of British talent with big voices and little personalities. At least he sounds pleasant though.
  21. Jun 19, 2014
    In The Lonely Hour is an album made by an artist who spent years waiting to be famous, but when he got there, found that he didn’t actually have that much to say.
  22. Jun 17, 2014
    The music does its best to couch Smith’s melodramatic overreach in swoonily supple adult pop, but only on “Like I Can”--a grand, reach-for-the-sky imprecation focused more on his rival’s shortcomings than on what he himself brings to the table--does it have enough conviction to counter what he is singing.
  23. Jun 12, 2014
    Its formulaic songwriting and middling, lite-pop arrangements seem more concerned with top 40 appeal than with maximizing the richness and openness of his voice.
  24. 40
    It’s a shame to see a talented guy rushed into making the wrong record.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 204 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 37 out of 204
  1. Jul 14, 2014
    An album that sadly fails on the expectations and greatness of Sam Smith's voice!

    As most, I came across Smith for his features on the duo
    An album that sadly fails on the expectations and greatness of Sam Smith's voice!

    As most, I came across Smith for his features on the duo Disclosure- and Naughty Boy's big hits, "Latch" and "La La La" (respectively), songs he provided his excellent pipes for.
    Aside the brilliant beat use from the two, Sam Smith's angelic soul was a reason to fall in-love with. A voice that lead to push the tracks higher on the charts, and for the many continuously radio plays.
    He was a star in the making, a young man whom critics and fans hailed as pretty much the up-coming of an Adele, in opposite gender though.
    With a couple of great songs and EPs later, it looked heavenly for Sam Smith and his debut LP "In The Lonely Hour".

    Songs such as "Stay With Me" was one of them early ones, and the anticipations for his debut went all sky-rocket. It is a perfect example of a stunning ballad with beautifully layered production behind his on-point lyrics and vocal-delivery about a one night stand Sam wants to hold on till, Smith is a loner.

    While unrequited love, loneliness and sadness is something most people know a thing or two about, too much of it, can hurt on the wrong foot (see: "Like I Can"). Cause past the four-five opening tracks, songs on the second-half becomes all more filler, corny and more of an everlasting long cut of the same-samey.
    Even the second track, "Good Thing" that starts off wonderful with whispery guitar riffs, gripping vocals and catchy melodies, suffers from Hollywood cheesiness on the string department when the bridge kicks in.
    That's most of the album in emotions, it feels like a soul lost in Hollywood, and not the concept record of being the love-letter to the man he loved. Instead we get A-B-C rhymes about "June" and "Spoon" on a track like "Not in That Way".
    The album ends on a sweet and good note though with "Lay Me Down" a track listeners had experience and praise with before and after the release of the album.

    The album feels uncompleted as an overall project, and well yeah the songs flows nicely into each other, it might be because it feels like the other one before that and the next one that plays on. And while we have seen a one-dimensional record hit home before, this did not with it's, at times, mediocre/un-interesting production and it's duds on lyrics and delivery.

    "In The Lonely Hour" is nowhere near being a bad record, in fact it is enjoyable mostly cause of the outstanding voice of Sam Smith, and it is better than most in mainstream pop to come out.
    But that's it, I/we do not want him to be an average musician, a musician to fade away. We expect risks, rawer products and less safe-zone of an album even if it is executed poorly. In the end, at least it will be mentioned and recognized.. and, respectable.
    Sam Smith needs a fresh start, new team or direction to accomplish much more bigger succes, not just in sales but in hearts of sceptics, and fans as I.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 20, 2014
    The hype circulating in this album is enormous. When it first came out, i felt disappointed. Though there are few good songs, there are alsoThe hype circulating in this album is enormous. When it first came out, i felt disappointed. Though there are few good songs, there are also "so-so" ones. Full Review »
  3. Jun 22, 2014
    This album is amazing! The truth is there are some songs that are not meant for his range but almost very song is extremely true andThis album is amazing! The truth is there are some songs that are not meant for his range but almost very song is extremely true and emotional! If people want something happy then go buy another album! His album is part of him and as fans we must listen to what he's saying not to tell him how we think he must do his albums! Love you Sam! Been a fan since the very beginning! Full Review »