Photo: Alexandra Gavillet
"All I want is to not release something completely shit, and the response to the tunes makes me feel like I'm doing okay so far."
-Lewis Capaldi, 2017
The first time we came across Lewis Capaldi was in 2017. He had two singles to his name, his debut single "Bruises" and "Lost on You," and we praised the artist for reaching 13 million streams on his aforementioned debut single. Now, less than two years later, the soulful Scottish singer-songwriter has more than 14 million monthly listeners, "Bruises" has been streamed over 160 million times, and he has just released his long-awaited debut album.
Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, in characteristic Capaldi fashion, arrives in direct contrast to its name. From his always-impressive vocal feats and acrobatics to a distinctive sense for poignant songwriting, Capaldi never fails to grab a hold of that part of you whose existence you were unaware existed until the very moment you pressed play.
What is perhaps most surprising about Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent is how the album's previously unheard tracks compare to its singles. Tracks like "Bruises" and "Someone You Loved," which made the world at large fall in love with Capaldi, feel equally as monumental as the tracks we are hearing for the first time today.
Take "Forever," which plays out as a story of redemption and love of nigh-heavenly proportions. This is cascading moment is immediately followed by a track like "The One," which follows as a quick succession punch to heart with its multifaceted reflection on the scars we carry with us from relationship to relationship. Truly, in its twelve tracks, Capaldi's debut album cements himself as a master at tugging heartstrings, while never feeling trite or overly-bearing.
Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent arrives as a deeply human debut, chronicling the scars, downfalls, and rejoicings of the myriad of highs and lows that accompany a life lived. It is the rare sort of album that feels like it could have only been created by someone capable of finding the beauty within those less-than-perfect moments and who understands the import of transforming those moments into utterly captivating song.
To reference Capaldi's words from two years ago, he has succeeded in his aim. He has not created something completely shit; Capaldi has delivered a striking project that is poised to catapult him into the stratosphere of timeless, moving songwriters.
Listen to Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent below: