Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent is the debut album by Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi, released on 17 May 2019 through Virgin EMI Records. It includes the singles "Grace", the UK number one "Someone You Loved" and "Hold Me While You Wait", among several previously included on Capaldi's EPs. Capaldi is currently on a world tour in support of the record, which began in May 2019.
In the album announcement, Capaldi said: "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." He went on to describe that while he liked "building up the songs", he did not enjoy re-recording guitar parts and the long mixing process. Capaldi also joked that he did not think that when he got to release his debut album that he "would give it a name as stupid I have, but here we are". MTV said Capaldi "might have just won Best Album Title Of 2019".
User Album Review
Few artists have quite such a disparity between their music and their public persona as 22-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi. On social media, he’s as strenuously bluff and self-deprecating as this debut album title, expressing bafflement at his newfound fame (his single Someone You Loved spent seven weeks at No 1) and larking about on his Instagram stories. In song, however, he’s a man utterly battered by a breakup, singing every dolorous ballad as if wrapped in a duvet on the sofa.
It starts brightly enough: Grace is a superb single, driven by a Mumford-style hoedown thump and a convincing gospel energy to Capaldi’s ascending, imploring chorus notes. The way he drives his voice up further still at the euphoric climax, exalting his wavering lover through the very melody, is really heartstopping. But this pitch in the last-chance-saloon clearly doesn’t work, and the rest of the record is bracketed firmly in the tiramisu-for-dinner phase of being dumped.
How much this appeals will depend on receptivity to Capaldi’s voice as much as your romantic history – he makes stadium blubsmiths like Adele seem like a model of stoic resolve. In the lineage of the other white cod-soul names such as Rag’N’Bone Man, James Arthur and Tom Grennan, who are currently propping up major labels, emotion is telegraphed through forced hoarseness and deliberate falsetto cracks – the ugly-crying of pop vocals. There is no subtlety, originality or range: the piano playing reverts to a Someone Like You plod too often, and there could have been some more piquant Scottish lyrical details such as “tonic wine” and his “lively dafty” ex.
But there is some solid songwriting here, and a nobility to the sheer honesty of the lyrics. Forever has all the easy resolving cadences of Keane, while the chorus of George Ezra-ish Hollywood tumbles down to its conclusion with an equally satisfying predictability. And if Someone You Loved was effective at the disbelieving despair phase, Lost on You makes an elegant follow-up, Capaldi singing as if through the clarity after a jag of crying: “I hope you’re safe in the arms of another / because I couldn’t take the weight of your love.”
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