Sam Smith ‘Gloria’ reviews: Is it ‘the most vital work of their career’ or too ‘generic’?

Sam Smith released their fourth studio album “Gloria” on Friday, January 27, a few months after they reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Unholy” featuring Kim Petras. Is the entire album just as big a hit as that song has been? Reviews have been coming in from music critics.

As of this writing the album has a MetaCritic score of 72 based on four reviews counted thus far: two positive and two somewhat mixed. On the positive end of the spectrum, Nick Levine (NME) calls “Gloria” “the most vital work of their career … mixing classy downbeat pop with moments of disco catharsis.” He adds that “Smith’s soulful voice is stunning throughout” and that the album is “rich musically, thematically and above all, emotionally.”

Maura Johnston (Rolling Stone) says the album is “a compact, steadily flowing collection of pop songs that showcase Smith’s vocal versatility and personal growth.” However, Alexis Petridis (The Guardian) counters that the album “tiptoes away from their trademark piano-led ballads — but isn’t the ‘edgy’ departure they think it is.” And Lindsay Zoladz (New York Times) thinks “the quality varies across the 12-track album” with “moments of boldness” but “occasional lapses into generics.”

Will it get Smith back to the Grammys? Though they ruled the awards with their debut collection “In the Lonely Hour,” winning four times including Record of the Year (“Stay with Me”) and Best New Artist, they didn’t receive another nomination until “Unholy” with Kim Petras this year. That lead single was released during the last eligibility period and currently contends for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The rest of the album will be eligible for the 2024 Grammys a year from now.

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