Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent

Albums: Sam Smith Gloria

Sam Smith Gloria

Love Me More; No God; Hurting Interlude; Lose You; Perfect (with Jessie Reyez); Unholy (with Kim Petras); How To Cry; Six Shots; Gimme (with Koffee and Jessie Reyez); Dorothy's Interlude; I'm Not Here To Make Friends; Gloria; Who We Love (with Ed Sheeran)
Capitol: B0BJ1CVBQY

Sam Smith is at a pivotal moment in their recording career. Having debuted to critical acclaim, their success was phenomenal, yet their credibility often overlooked due to the repetitive Adele comparisons. Now a decade later it feels like Smith has finally arrived at the artist they intended to be. Having hit #1 with the epic Kim Petra's featuring anthem Unholy, the second single from their fourth studio album, Gloria, it was clear that Smith had a new-found confidence and freedom in their special expression.

Having led with such a strong single, the 13-song strong collection Gloria has a lot to live up to. While interim single, Gimme, which features Koffee and Jessie Reyz is a little more forgettable, the decision to release the epic I'm Not Here To Make Friends as a single alongside the album itself was pure genius.

Accompanied by a confidently sexually playful video, which is strangely deemed controversial, the song once again reiterates that Smith is an artist who has finally fully arrived.

The issue with Gloria as a body whole though is that it relies too heavily on these explosive moments. While there are other moments - both tenderly beautiful (notably the Ed Sheeran featuring Who We Love) and the lyrically raw (Love Me More), there are a few too many songs that blend too much into the background when surrounded by the aforementioned anthems.

Gloria is a huge step forward for Sam Smith. While it isn't a perfect record, it highlights how Sam could really dominate in a more unique manner. Sadly, though the records play it safe just a couple too many times to have the impact that the key singles promised.