Like most of us mere mortals, Lewis Capaldi projects himself best with the ways somewhat dumpy, ordinary-looking people would: with his charisma, humor, and winning personality. Hence, it is rather unexpected that the bloke in the songs found on Mr Capaldi’s debut full-length album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, is more of a melancholic dude going all emo and writing Tumblr poetry about broken hearts and lost loves.
The crowning jewel here is his super-successful first single, Someone You Loved – a raw, emotional ballad that manages to rise above some cringe-overload edgy lyrics thanks to Mr Capaldi’s impassioned vocals. This song, coupled to a beautiful video featuring a distantly-related ex-Dr Who, is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve heard in a while, and it’s also the reason why I end up purchasing this album. Seriously, everything about this is perfect: the way the vocals strum and play on the strings of the heart, the beautiful piano-heavy instrumentation, and the way the song gently surges to a soaring crescendo in such a way that gets me all choked up inside. Perhaps Mr Capaldi has already jumped the shark with this song, as it’s hard to imagine that he’d ever surpass this work of beauty, but I’d like to be proven wrong.
Well, One comes close, I suppose, but it feels like a watered down version of Someone You Loved, so there’s that.
Aside of Grace – another tune about the fragility of love – which is a gorgeous rousing track, the rest of the songs are unfortunately on the dreary and soggy side. If I consider the tracks individually, sure yes, Bruise is a great song for heartbroken blokes to yell out off-key while they are drunk, Hold Me While You Wait sees Mr Capaldi purring and twirling his gorgeous voice in something that is simultaneously sexy and disheartening, and so forth. Put these tracks all in the same album, and play them one after another, and I find myself feeling a bit down. Maybe Mr Capaldi’s voice is a little too effective here as a weapon of massive heartbreak; I end up feeling quite down by the time I’m done with the final track on this album.
One thing about Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent is that while there’s no denying that the voice is perhaps an eight or a nine, but the songs by themselves aren’t the most original or inspired. Not that this is an issue, as for the most part, this is a solid album to listen to. The lyrics are for the most part average to banal, the songs are okay, but the vocals are really good. I’ve seen people compare Lewis Capaldi to Sam Smith, but given what I’ve seen here, he’s more like a male Adele: mostly dreary and forgettable songs by an unforgettable voice.