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'I get so serious sometimes': Sam Smith confronts broken heart on third album, 'Love Goes'

Gary Dinges
USA TODAY

Sam Smith has been through a lot lately.

The singer has had tremendous professional success over the past decade. But personally? That's more complicated. And Smith, who started using gender-neutral "they/them" pronouns last year, isn't afraid to put it all out there on their latest album, "Love Goes." It drops Friday.

The 11 tracks that make up the album, Smith's third, are loaded with raw, powerful lyrics that tell the story of love lost and the pain and anguish it can cause. Smith even pays a nod to their admittedly intense nature in one of the songs, "So Serious": "I get so serious sometimes // My emotions stand on the line."

The focus on love and the human experience shouldn't be surprising to Smith fans. The artist opened up on Twitter last year, sharing they'd been in therapy for a year and a half, and it was "probably the most challenging time of my short 27 years here." (Smith is now 28.)

More:Sam Smith, Demi Lovato go glam as they sing about love struggles in new single, 'I'm Ready'

Smith quoted best-selling author Brene Brown in his tweet string, telling fans, "You are enough" and encouraging them to say that to themselves each night before going to bed.

Smith had promised in an interview with the "Zach Sang Show" that their latest album would feature "fewer ballads and plenty of poppier tracks." Yes, a few songs can definitely be considered pop-friendly or pop-adjacent, such as "Diamonds," which has been in heavy rotation on US radio stations in recent weeks. But, for the most part, we're getting the soulful Sam Smith we know and love. The one who can turn us into a sappy mess with his vision of love and what it should be. An international superstar with a one-of-a-kind voice. And we're OK with that.

On the album, Smith confronts demons from the past, telling off unworthy lovers who used and mentally abused the singer. Take these lyrics from "Diamonds": "Take all the money you want from me // Hope you become what you want to be // Show me how little you care // How little you care // How little you care."

In "Another One," Smith acknowledges they had been used merely for companionship, that the relationship they'd been in had been a sham: "Oh, congratulations // You found the one // You found the one // I think I can finally face it // I'm not the one // Never was the one."

Still, moving on after that realization isn't easy, Smith admits in "Dance": "I remember every taste // If I get a little wasted // I can almost see your face // Such a dark and lonely place // I'm not over it // Someone get me over it."

Lest you think all the songs are glum, Smith offers a glimmer of hope for the future, an indication they are working on personal growth, on their own terms. In "Young," Smith says, "I want to be wild and young // And not be afraid to lose // Cry on my own // Me and my bottle // These are the things I choose."

Sam Smith's latest album, "Love Goes," is out Oct. 30.

Affairs of the heart are the fuel for Smith's song success. The singer jokingly credited an ex-boyfriend  for their wins at the Grammys ceremony in 2015, saying, "Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys," including record of the year and song of the year.

"Love Goes" had initially been set for release on May 1 under a different name, "To Die For." Then the coronavirus pandemic happened changed that and in March, Smith told fans on Instagram it didn't seem appropriate to drop a new album during a "weird, upsetting and unprecedented time."

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges