The following is an update to Sam’s original review of Something Beautiful, which can be found here.
Months ago, Jordan Smith, winner of “The Voice”, released his first album Something Beautiful and it fell short of his potential. He exhibited mind-boggling power and reached unfathomable heights during Season 9 of the show, yet he completely u-turned from those qualities. When Smith announced the addition of new songs to his album, he promised spectacular work and it certainly rejuvenated my love for his music. Something Beautiful was millions of miles away from what audiences knew Smith was capable of but at the end of July, he finally vindicated himself.
Smith developed a deluxe album, which provides fans with four additional masterpieces that meet the lofty expectations. “I Lived”, “Leave a Little Light On”, “Strangers”, and “Starlights” all demonstrate the elegance and power of Smith’s voice while containing an uplifting message that the voice we fell in love with is completely rejuvenated.
Backed by an acoustic guitar with a perky melody, “I Lived” gifts listeners with the message of enjoying your life and sticking to what you love. Smith effortlessly opens with a tenor 1 note and continues to climb the ladder on the vocal scale as he brings us the chorus “I, I did it all/I, I did it all/I owned every second that this world could give/ I saw so many places, the things that I did/Yeah, with every broken bone, I swear I lived”. Not only is this message from the Christian singer valuable, but he also delivers it with increasing vocal intensity and soprano ringing rifts and high notes. “Leave a Little Light On” begins with a different tune than “I Lived”, as its heartfelt and mellow chords lay the groundwork for Smith’s interjection of emotion and power. He sails through the first verse and chorus along with even tempo drums, but then rapidly flips the switch to his upper register. The truly unique aspect of this song is the fact that he arranged the music behind him to follow his energy, which aids his voice as the higher notes require a significant breath for preparation. Smith also utilized wind chimes on the last two choruses to signify purity and enthusiasm.
Unlike the previous two additions, “Strangers” is very peaceful and demonstrates Smith’s annunciation and soul, rather than his large vocal capabilities. When an artist sings with a piano, their vocals are stripped down and it allows listeners to observe the message and the feeling behind the singer’s lips. This third song- although it has some very impressive falsetto work- showcases the lack of tension and purity in Smith’s singing. Another special resource incorporated in this piece comes from the mouths of other singers behind him. The very light vocals accompanying him provide a harmonic, choir-like atmosphere that Smith grew up with from his youth days in the church.
The final addition to the new version of Something Beautiful is “Starlights”. The chorus of “If you’ll keep listening, I’ll keep talking/Count them while my tears are dropping/Here comes starlight again, asking where have you been” expresses a damaged person fearing that a relationship with someone has been reduced to ruins. An intriguing aspect of Smith’s artistic choices here is the fact that he maintains the same precise vocal intensity throughout the verses and amps everything up in the chorus. That may appear commonplace, but Smith has a consistent pattern where after the first chorus, he continuously applies pressure on his vocal gas pedal. Here, he decreases his volume and increases his emphasis on the message at hand, proof that this rejuvenated version of Smith is here to impress.
Pop l Republic Records