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Sam Smith|The Thrill Of It All (Special Edition)

The Thrill Of It All (Special Edition)

Sam Smith

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Referring to In the Lonely Hour as a massive success would not be hyperbolic. Each one of its four singles reached the Top Ten in Sam Smith's native U.K. As the album racked up multi-platinum certifications, Smith collected four Grammys. The momentum continued with "Writing's on the Wall," the first James Bond theme to top the U.K. chart and subsequently an Oscar winner. Smith's 2017 follow-up arrived a little over three years after the debut. It refines the M.O. of "Stay with Me" and "I'm Not the Only One," as it's stacked from floor to ceiling with ballads, and informed by vintage Southern soul and gospel, all distinguished with Smith's fraught, lump-in-throat outpourings. It wouldn't be a shock to learn that the singer finished each performance by either crawling back to bed or collapsing in the vocal booth. For that, The Thrill of It All -- an album that begins with "You must think that I'm stupid" and lifts in mood rarely and only slightly at that -- is an odd title. ("The Thrill of It All" itself doesn't appear on the album's standard edition, and is another griever, all remorseful pain, no pleasure.) Like "Stay with Me" and "I'm Not the Only One," these songs feature co-production from Jimmy Napes and Steve Fitzmaurice, who typically work in tandem, and in a few instances are assisted by the Dap-Kings Horns and several background vocalists who mitigate the misery. On "Baby, You Make Me Crazy," the horn section helps lend a rare moment of uplift, where Smith delights in thinking of listening to their favorite music to drown out the sorrow. The connections to the South extend to highlight "No Peace," a duet with Arkansas native and poised powerhouse Yebba Smith. More importantly, there's "Him," a moment of admission and proud defiance: "I walk the streets of Mississippi/I hold my lover by the hand/I feel you staring when he is with me." Additional songwriters and producers, including but not limited to Timbaland, Stargate, Emile Haynie, and Malay, contribute to one or two songs each, but this album maintains a consistency and intensity that places it slightly above the debut.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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The Thrill Of It All (Special Edition)

Sam Smith

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1
Too Good At Goodbyes
00:03:21

Tor Erik Hermansen, ComposerLyricist - Mikkel Eriksen, ComposerLyricist - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Drum Programming, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - StarGate, Producer, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, Additional Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Archer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The LJ Singers, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Henri Davies, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

2
Say It First
00:04:07

James Ho, ComposerLyricist - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Malay, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Programming, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer, AssociatedPerformer, Electronic Percussion - Jodi Milliner, Moog Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

3
One Last Song
00:03:12

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Neal Sugarman, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Tyler Johnson, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, Electronic Percussion - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Emanuel Smalls, ComposerLyricist - Reuben James, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Lobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The LJ Singers, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

4
Midnight Train
00:03:27

James Ho, ComposerLyricist - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Tambourine, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Neal Sugarman, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - LaDonna Harley-Peters, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Vicky Akintola, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Vula Malinga, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Malay, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy McLaughlin, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer, Drums, Organ, AssociatedPerformer, Electronic Percussion - Reuben James, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Producer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Patrick Linton, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

5
Burning
00:03:23

Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, ComposerLyricist - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Dominic Jordan, ComposerLyricist - Ben Jones, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Giannos, ComposerLyricist - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Archer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Henri Davies, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

6
HIM
00:03:10

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Drum Programming, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The LJ Singers, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Brendan Grieve, Producer, Drum Programming, Celesta, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

7
Baby, You Make Me Crazy
00:03:27

Robert Bell, ComposerLyricist - Robert Mickens, ComposerLyricist - Dennis Ronald Thomas, ComposerLyricist - Emile Haynie, Producer, Percussion, Piano, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Woodrow Sparrow, ComposerLyricist - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Percussion, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ronald Bell, ComposerLyricist - Claydes Smith, ComposerLyricist - Richard Westfield, ComposerLyricist - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Neal Sugarman, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - George Melvin Brown, ComposerLyricist - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Vicky Akintola, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Vula Malinga, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy McLaughlin, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Keyboards, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - LaDonna Harley Peters, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Drum Programming, Asst. Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - The LJ Singers, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Patrick Linton, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gene Redd Sr., ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

8
No Peace
00:04:43

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, Electronic Percussion - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Producer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Archer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Abbey Smith, ComposerLyricist - Henri Davies, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - YEBBA, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

9
Palace
00:03:07

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Johnson, Producer, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - CAM, Electric Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Camaron Ochs, ComposerLyricist - Nick Lobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

10
Pray Explicit
00:03:41

Darryl Pearson, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Timbaland, Producer, Percussion, Drum Programming, Drum Track, Rhythm Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Timothy Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Vicky Akintola, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Larrance Dopson, ComposerLyricist - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vula Malinga, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - LaDonna Harley Peters, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The LJ Singers, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Larrance "Rance" Dopson, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Patrick Linton, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jose Valasquez, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

11
Nothing Left For You
00:03:46

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - James Napier, ComposerLyricist - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, Electronic Percussion - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The LJ Singers, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

12
The Thrill Of It All
00:03:28

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Hale, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard George, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Burdge, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Everton Nelson, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - EARL HARVIN, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bruce White, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Lawrence Johnson, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, Electronic Percussion - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Prestage, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The LJ Singers, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Brendan Grieve, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

13
Scars
00:03:03

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Additional Producer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - Darren Heelis, Engineer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Reuben James, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brendan Grieve, Producer, Electric Guitar, Drum Programming, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

14
One Day At A Time
00:03:29

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Fitzmaurice, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel - Darren Heelis, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Jones, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Simon Aldred, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sam Smith, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Napes, Producer - Jodi Milliner, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Steph Marziano, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Pirelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Will Purton, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Archer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Henri Davies, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Isabel Grundy Gracefield, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Universal Music Operations Limited

Album Description

Referring to In the Lonely Hour as a massive success would not be hyperbolic. Each one of its four singles reached the Top Ten in Sam Smith's native U.K. As the album racked up multi-platinum certifications, Smith collected four Grammys. The momentum continued with "Writing's on the Wall," the first James Bond theme to top the U.K. chart and subsequently an Oscar winner. Smith's 2017 follow-up arrived a little over three years after the debut. It refines the M.O. of "Stay with Me" and "I'm Not the Only One," as it's stacked from floor to ceiling with ballads, and informed by vintage Southern soul and gospel, all distinguished with Smith's fraught, lump-in-throat outpourings. It wouldn't be a shock to learn that the singer finished each performance by either crawling back to bed or collapsing in the vocal booth. For that, The Thrill of It All -- an album that begins with "You must think that I'm stupid" and lifts in mood rarely and only slightly at that -- is an odd title. ("The Thrill of It All" itself doesn't appear on the album's standard edition, and is another griever, all remorseful pain, no pleasure.) Like "Stay with Me" and "I'm Not the Only One," these songs feature co-production from Jimmy Napes and Steve Fitzmaurice, who typically work in tandem, and in a few instances are assisted by the Dap-Kings Horns and several background vocalists who mitigate the misery. On "Baby, You Make Me Crazy," the horn section helps lend a rare moment of uplift, where Smith delights in thinking of listening to their favorite music to drown out the sorrow. The connections to the South extend to highlight "No Peace," a duet with Arkansas native and poised powerhouse Yebba Smith. More importantly, there's "Him," a moment of admission and proud defiance: "I walk the streets of Mississippi/I hold my lover by the hand/I feel you staring when he is with me." Additional songwriters and producers, including but not limited to Timbaland, Stargate, Emile Haynie, and Malay, contribute to one or two songs each, but this album maintains a consistency and intensity that places it slightly above the debut.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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