The Thrill Of It All
London’s unfailingly polite male answer to Adele loads the followup to his 24-million-selling-worldwide debut with breakup songs, or at least relationship-didn’t-quite-work-out songs. They frequently border of self-flagellating (album-opening line: “You must think that I’m stupid”), and Smith’s falsetto still floats up from somewhere between his diaphragm and nasal cavity. In both-hemispheres pop smash “Too Good at Goodbyes,” overtly and defiantly gay “Him” and love-squandered-on-“goddamn fool” bonus cut “Nothing Left For You,” billowing gospel choirs respond to his calls. “One Last Song” and atypically upbeat “Baby You Make Me Crazy” try on a deeper (and more convincing) shade of soul; “Midnight Train” borrows its name from Gladys Knight but chords from Radiohead. At least three songs mention smoking — including Special Edition closer “One Day At A Time,” the title (and bottle) of which also flip an A.A. slogan.