Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent

Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent

“There is no better feeling than that first minute after you’ve written a good song,” Lewis Capaldi tells Apple Music. “I hate sitting in a recording studio, because you’re taking something you love, making it really, really shit and then trying to bring it back to the point where you love it again.” Now, to know the Scottish singer-songwriter—even just from Twitter—is to know we’re dealing with one of pop’s more self-effacing stars. It’s one of a few traits he shares with fellow heartbreak documentarian Adele. His debut album makes good on the promise teased across singles “Bruises” and “Someone You Loved.” It’s a ballsy, timeless breakup album of skyscraping ballads that we’re convinced required very little studio rehab. He’ll try to tell you otherwise below, in his exclusive track-by-track guide. But we’re not having it. “Grace” “There were no sleepless nights worrying about track sequencing or anything like that. Fuck all. I wanted ‘Grace’ to be the first song because it just opens up, piano chord, my vocals straight away. I didn't want there to be too much of an intro. And I’d love to say it was an artistic choice, but it’s 2019: You put the chorus at the start of the song. I just wanted that to be a punch and straight away, here's a fucking album.” “Bruises” “The success of ‘Bruises’ has always shocked me. It was the first song I ever wrote that was actually about personal experience. I found it very strange that it took going into a room with a man called James Earp for me to be asked how I was feeling and to be able to give an honest answer. I had just broken up with my first proper girlfriend of two years, and I was just getting back to being alone again. I was finding being a single man very strange. This song is the reason I am not unemployed and playing PlayStation in my underwear.” “Hold Me While You Wait” “This is a song I love, but it took a very long time to get right. It’s probably my second-favorite song on the album. You guessed it: It’s another sad song. It’s about me being in a relationship with someone who did not like me much. She was looking for the exit door, but for some reason was incredibly indecisive. I, for some reason, was very cool with that. I now know that’s ridiculous. If someone doesn’t want to be with you, finish with them. You’ll probably end up writing an album about it.” “Someone You Loved” “A smash hit in the UK. Not so much everywhere else. It’s the last song I wrote for the album. I just couldn’t bring myself to write another song about breaking up with a girl who I no longer harbored any feelings for whatsoever. I went into a session with some guys called TMS [London songwriting and production trio Tom 'Froe' Barnes, Ben Kohn, and Peter 'Merf' Kelleher] and a guy called RØMANS [songwriter Sam Roman] and explained the song but that I didn’t want to write about my love life again. They showed me another way. In the last few years, quite a few people in my family had, for lack of better words, snuffed it. There are people I am no longer talking to. I wanted to write a song about the feeling of loss and about losing someone without it being about a relationship. It was intentional to keep it as broad as possible.” “Maybe” “Another late addition to the album. It used to have this very [Sam Smith] ‘Stay With Me’/’I’m Not the Only One’ piano. Which was cool, but what’s the point when they’re massive songs? So we wanted to bring in this new thing, and that was this guitar. It's a different kind of midtempo-y vibe that you probably haven't heard on the album thus far. And then you go back to regular scheduled programming.” “Forever” “A song that's about a fictional meeting. I imagined what I would say to a girl if we’d broken up about a year and a half ago but bumped into each other on a night out, half-cut. No animosity whatsoever. Which is the thing about this album, too: It wasn't ever meant to be a breakup album at all. It’s actually been quite odd discussing this person who I’m over and friends with now. And she literally could not be less interested in me. But there's no song on this album that's like, ‘You did this to me and you're a horrible person.’” “One” “I wanted to write a love song, but obviously, I wanted to keep it on brand, so I had to sound negative. A friend had showed me a poem where this guy was thanking the ex-boyfriend who had broken up with his girlfriend. I thought that was a cool concept. It got me thinking about ‘When I Was Your Man’ by Bruno Mars, and how he’s apologizing for how he’s treated his ex. So my song is me saying the most romantic thing I could think of in the most unromantic way possible. ‘Thank fuck you’re single,’ basically.” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” “A song I wrote with a friend of mine, Jamie Hartman. We’d already written ‘Hold Me While You Wait’ together at this point, and we wondered what we could do to shake things up. I didn’t have any songs that are like a waltz, so Jamie’s idea was to try that. It’s a song about being in a relationship—again, if you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a bit of a one-trick pony—and the feeling that being by yourself is worse than being in a relationship that’s not going that well.” “Hollywood” “The best song on the album by an absolute country mile. It’s a lot faster than a lot of songs on the album. It sounds happy but is massively, massively the opposite. It’s very depressing. It’s about the first time I went to Los Angeles to write. I was relating my ex-girlfriend to a simpler point in my life, where my only worries were going to the pub and not making an idiot of myself. I loved my time out there, but I was getting in my own head a bit and being a bit daft. My manager hates this song. It will probably never be a single.” “Lost on You” “This was the first kind of ‘We've broken up, but it's okay’ song. I just wanted someone else to be there for her. Because I was traveling a lot and I was away doing this. I wanted her to have every feeling that she wanted to feel.” “Fade” “So this was probably my favorite before I did ‘Hollywood.’ My voice sounds the best on the whole record here. I wrote it with Malay, who’s worked with Frank Ocean. He was my number one person when I was asked who I wanted to collaborate with, but it all felt so pie-in-the-sky. We reached out after ‘Bruises’ and within a week we were in New York and this song literally fell out. To work with someone who you are such a big admirer of is always dangerous, in my opinion. But Malay is just a total lovely man and incredibly disarming.” “Headspace” “If ‘Fade’ feels like the culmination of all these fucking dreams coming true, it was important for ‘Headspace’ to come after it—and to close the album. I wrote it when I was 17. Just this wee chubby teenage cunt sitting in his room playing guitar, not having a clue what is about to happen to him. If it was a film, it would end here. It would end at the start.”

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