- 12 May 23
Familiar territory from the Scottish vocal powerhouse.
Glaswegian singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has had a stratospheric rise to fame comparable only to Paul Mescal in the last five years, after ‘Bruises’ went viral and his debut album became the biggest seller in the UK in both 2019 and 2020. Following the chart success of Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent was never going to be easy, and his new Netflix documentary painstakingly documented his struggles with Atlas’ burden on his shoulders.
Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent sticks largely to familiar terrain, but emphasises the talent’s jaw-dropping vocal prowess on numerous tracks, with ‘Any Kind of Life’ and ‘How This Ends’ proving especially spine-tingling. The gargantuan weight of expectations bleeds through the music, with the 26-year-old embarking on writing sessions with some of London and LA’s most coveted songwriters for the LP. The results are mixed, with a boatload of raw piano ballads referencing original sin, angels, hell, heaven, undying love and the rest.
He details a connection with an absent partner on ‘Haven’t You Ever Been In Love Before’, declares his dedication on ‘Love The Hell Out Of You’ and tries to move on with ‘Forget You’. They tend to blend together, but album closer ‘How I’m Feeling Now’ gets him where he needs to be in terms of specificity and authenticity. One U-turn is ‘80s rock-fuelled pop track ‘Leave Me Slowly’, which adds a dash of Aerosmith underneath Capaldi’s soaring voice.
‘The Pretender’ sees Lewis write in more vivid detail about the contents of his anxious mind: “I can wear a million faces / ‘Cause I don’t like the one underneath.” While he self-penned No.1 hits rich in vulnerability, perhaps the charismatic musician could write more directly about his life experiences. Nevertheless, 'The Pretender' marks another memorable moment on a powerful album.
Listen: ‘How I’m Feeling Now’