Sam Smith Essentials
It’s gotta take guts to be Sam Smith: Not only has the artist produced some of the most cinematic and candidly insecure love songs of the 2010s, but they’ve used their conventional multiplatinum appeal to acclimate pop audiences to queerness and gender fluidity when a good portion of said audience was probably just hoping to get away with a good cry. And like their professed forebears Adele and Amy Winehouse (not to mention Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, and Boy George), Smith has helped renovate classic soul for modern ears without losing the gut-punch directness of the original thing, balancing spotlight ballads with forays into dance and pop without sacrificing the integrity of either. And while we’re at it, how about that voice? Feast your lovelorn ears on the rolling best of Sam Smith.