2019 was the year that brought us the series finale of Game of Thrones, the #10YearChallenge, and Fyre Festival but best of all, it well and truly cemented Lewis Capaldi as the perfect pop star that’s been missing from the Top 40 charts this whole time. “Who likes sad songs written by chubby guys?” is just another phrase from his self-deprecating handbook. And it appears a decent percentage of the world’s population does, (except Noel Gallagher of course). Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent, the debut album from the 23-year-old Scottish sensation has made its way into car stereos, living rooms, sold-out arenas, and the hearts of millions around the globe.
The twelve-track album full of heartwrenching piano ballads and tear-jerking lyrics sits in stark contrast to his goofy and #relatable public persona. Fully immersed in today’s online culture, his hilarious activity on social media largely consists of him bragging about his sex appeal alongside those “oops I’ve opened the front camera” selfies, expressing bafflement at his newfound fame, and updates on his pubic hair growth (not that anybody asked). Witnessing one of his live shows is like attending part pop concert and part stand-up comedy show.
When it comes to the music, he’s a man that’s been so emotionally burdened by heartache that he needs to be bubble-wrapped all over with a fragile sticker on top. Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent centres around Lewis navigating heartbreak and the scars it leaves behind. Exploring the multi-faceted feelings post-breakup (or close to), standout single ‘Grace’ (a track about surrendering to a life-changing love), is followed by 2017 EP favourite ‘Bruises’ (that unbearable pain of having to move on), ‘Hold Me While You Wait’ (being stuck in unrequited love) and #1 chart-topper ‘Someone You Loved’ (a ballad about falling out of love just when you had begun to envision a future together) which all kick off the record with plenty of momentum.
Proving that there’s more to his sonic palette, songs ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Headspace’ introduce gritty guitar riffs alongside gut-punching lyrics, “and I can take the hit but I’m sorry, I don’t want the bruise” and “your voice gets a little loud / when there’s nothing to talk about”. Belting out choruses accompanied by heavenly piano has become a staple in Lewis’ discography, and tracks ‘One’, ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ and ‘Lost On You’ further showcase his star power. From using production that retains raw studio moments, soaring vocals that sometimes quiver with fragility, and being far from a perfectionist in his day-to-day life, there is nothing out of place on this debut.
Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is a collection of somber love songs that resonate with a generation that has his undivided attention on and off the stage. For a young lad from Scotland who’s quickly made a career in singing sad songs, Lewis Capaldi has gotten kinda used to being someone who everyone loves.