sat 02/03/2024

Album: Lewis Capaldi - Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Lewis Capaldi - Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent

Album: Lewis Capaldi - Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent

Why reinvent the wheel if it rolls well?

Lewis Capaldi's infinitely listen-to-able new album

What a conflict of interests. I feel like Jean-Claude Van Damme in that Volvo ad, with the truck on the left hand side being my music editor who was recently name-checked by Lewis Capaldi after describing him as “a constipated Hozier”, and my children on the other who are constantly squawking about the video snippet from “Wish You the Best” shared on Tiktok about the little dog in the bike basket that’s making hoardes of adolescent children sob at the bus stop.

Personally, I massively rate Capaldi for being so snort-inducingly dry in his self-deprecating humour, and his honesty about living with Tourette’s and anxiety in the recently released Netflix documentary Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now. And I think his songs are infinitely listen-to-able, with that gravelly heart-in-throat-y rasp and notes that swoop in an upwards arc of their own tears to hit goosebumpy high notes. Such prescriptive strength and beauty is ever present in this second studio album, Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent – nowhere more so than in the three songs that have already topped the UK singles chart: “Forget Me” (an upbeat pop break-up ballad), “Pointless” (a sweet but so boring “I’ve found love” song that's all “I bring her coffee in the morning and she brings me inner peace”), and “Wish You the Best” (the totally beautiful play-on-repeat until you get RSI song).

Where I part ways with Capaldi’s sound is in the original sin/heaven/hell schtick of “Heavenly State of Mind”, and the raspy-wrench sadtimes get a little grating by the time we get to “Any Kind of Life”. “How I’m Feeling Now” mixes it up in terms of subject matter, getting closer to the truth of Capaldi as a person, in a revealing acoustic track that speaks to the anxiety and self doubt his documentary gets into, with lyrics such as: “No sense of self but self obsessed… I won't lie, I'm a mess, yeah, but I'll get there.” “Love The Hell Out of You” will be the ultimate first wedding track from hereon in – although the Ed Sheeran co-write “Pointless” is a strong contender for this title. “Leave Me Slowly” is a definite young person attempt at a vintage 80s power ballad, which to be fair has ample air guitar solo potential and “Haven’t You Ever Been in Love Before?” has mass appeal that will undoubtedly spawn a gazillion emo Instagram reels the second someone hooks a new bae.

Whilst Capaldi himself may describe the new album as “a total piece of flaming shite” (which he did at the Brits to NME), I think I’m siding with the kids on this one. Will I listen to the album end to end? No. But no one does that anymore. What I will do is add at least four to my "2023 faves" playlist and hope that the Scottish singer has the strength to stick with the thing he loves doing and is obviously so good at. At the time of releasing “Forget Me” Capaldi said he wasn’t looking to reinvent himself. Why would he? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – and the accolades gathering dust on his mantlepiece will speak to the fact that this formula of heartache and sonorous woe is nowhere near as fragile as the singer songwriter's own heart.

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters