Lewis Capaldi

Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent

Virgin Media

Released:  May 17, 2019

Lewis Capaldi is nutty.

That might come as a surprise to those who have heard those conventional raspy pop-soul hits such as Grace and Someone You Love which have seen him rack up millions of YouTube hits and a seemingly ever-present these days in the UK Singles chart.

But the Bathgate-born singer-songwriter is well adept at the bizarre away from the recording studio, especially when effing and blinding his way through a homemade video of himself mock-swaggering around a room while wearing a very very silly mainly turquoise tracksuit with matching garish sunshades.

"Ladies, how'ya doin," he jaunts with fake grin while pointing into the camera. "Can I buy you a drink please."

This eccentricity is nowhere to be seen on his debut album which, despite the self-deprecating album title, is chockful of faithfully catchy radio-friendly pop anthems with themes of desire, loss and particularly sorrow wallow.

Recorded over an 18 month period across London, New York and Los Angeles, it starts safely with his soaring breakthrough song, Grace, which saw the boy-next-door Scots singer-songwriter reach the Top 30 of the UK Singles Chart.

Cathartic debut single Bruises, the latest chart smasher Hold Me While You Wait and the chart-topping heartbreaking ballad Someone You Loved quickly follow as we head towards what comes across like a Lewis Capaldi greatest hits album while his has barely started.

This is a relentless exercise in melodic chart hit songcraft, taken to a new level with Capaldi's charismatic and passionate delivery.

If you did not see the name on the songs, you would have thought this was chart contemporary James Arthur, with whom he undoubtedly shares a worthy-listening edge and unconventional take on how to be away from the mic.

There will also be some who will also feel he shares Arthur's X Factor winning style of unrelenting emoting and crooning of every word with a constipated, really-meaning-it face.

It is what Capaldi has to say in the lyrics, particularly on his tender, angsty moments that clearly resonate in 2019, even if the misery overdose is overdone.

Bruises is self-indulgent in its grief as he sings: "I've been told, I've been told to get you off my mind. But I hope I never lose the bruises that you left behind."

Maybe contains even more heartache, but with a glimpse of strength as he croons: "Everything I touch turns to stone, maybe I'm better off on my own."

In tender The One he thanks someone "for all of the pain", on Lost On You he pines that "every day I'm a slave to the heartache", on Fade he tells a girl "you make my heart break more every day", even on his chart-topper he bemoans that he "let my guard down and then you pulled the rug".

There are fans who say his music is therapeutic and relatable, others call it indulgent pop bombast. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

As for Capaldi, he said in announcing the debut's release date: "I hope people don't think it's sh*t."

It is certainly not that.


What is Capaldi's take?

“I’m absolutely buzzing to finally be able to announce my debut album. I never thought I’d get to the point where I’d be able to release a proper album and I ABSOLUTELY never thought that when I did, I would give it a name as stupid I have, but here we are.

Everyone always tells you about how amazing recording their first album was and how they’ll always look back on the ‘process’ with fond memories.

I will look back on it as an extremely stressful time that somehow also managed to be extremely boring. The actual process of building the songs up I loved, but recording the same guitar parts over and over again to get them right and going back on mixes for weeks, I did not.

"I hope people don’t think it’s sh*t. I mean don’t get me wrong there will be one or two stinkers on there, but I’m only human and we all make mistakes, but as a whole I think it’s pretty f***ing good.

"I’m excited for it to be released and have people finally be able to hear a full body of work from me for the first time. Should it bomb completely or receive an absolute critical lambasting, don’t worry, it’s just my life’s work up until this point….."