Sam Smith, ‘Pray’ | Track Review
Upon announcement of his highly-anticipated sophomore album, ‘The Thrill of It All,’ Pop sensation Sam Smith drops a heartfelt second single, “Pray.”
After informing us he was “Too Good at Goodbyes,” Sam Smith announced his highly-anticipated new album. The Thrill of It All arrives on November 3, following a three-year hiatus. While “Too Good at Goodbyes” was more than enough to whet our palates, Smith drops another single to make them even wetter – “Pray.”
From the start, “Pray” is filled with soul. Before Sam Smith begins singing lyrics, he blesses us with hums, straight from the church. He’s accompanied by piano and drums, both of which possess a gospel flavor. Once the hums transform into lyrics, Smith showcases exceptional, nuanced vocal chops – we expect no less. The beginning of “Pray” can be described as intimate, thanks to its spare production. In addition to the personal nature of the lyrics, this record, as a whole, feels as if Smith is inviting us in. Beginning on the second verse, choral vocals amplify and intensify the spirit. Even so, they don’t take away from the star. Strings also add to the emotion.
The pros are galore for Smith and “Pray.” The vocals are beautiful to the nth degree, the production is intimate, yet grand at the same time, and the lyrics are personal and meaningful. There are no glaring cons. If one is to nitpick, some form is sacrificed towards the end, where things aren’t a polished. Part of this is due to Smith ‘letting loose,’ which is a pro, but a wee bit of structure goes out the window. Nitpick to the nth degree of course.
For all of the reasons – the pros – state above, “Pray” is a glorious song. Sam Smith is sure to have another hit on his hands with his sophomore album, The Thrill of It All. “Pray” may not be radio-made, but it plays to his artistic strengths. It represents what we love about Sam Smith.