Sam Smith In the Lonely Hour

Sam SmithIn the Lonely Hour
At the risk of sounding completely absurd, U.K. crooner Sam Smith is the musical equivalent of Neapolitan ice cream. Each slab of his debut album, In the Lonely Hour, reveals another layer through which he lays bare his emotional pangs. From the uptempo strawberry swing of "La La La" to the more downtrodden chocolate choruses of "Leave Your Love," Smith's rich vanilla vocals retell stories of unrequited love and longing.

But as Smith reminds us on "Good Thing," too much of the same won't be good for long, and midway through, the album gets trapped in a redundant cycle of the "you don't love/want me" variety. Despite this, In the Lonely Hour is a mostly fantastic debut that is more than deserving of a double dip. (Capitol)