Label: EMI Records
Released: 19th May 2023
Say what you want about Lewis Capaldi (hell knows he does – earlier this year, he proclaimed his new record to be “a total piece of flaming shite”); he knows how to turn sadness into anthem-sized sing-a-longs. On ‘Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent’, he plays to that strength at full force.
Whether the focus is on longing or limerence, apprehension or adoration, falling hard or feeling lost, at its core, this is an album about the most universal of emotions (and a word that features on the record 31 times): love. Sonically, it largely falls within the same template set out on debut record ‘Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent’, but this album never claimed to be a reinvention. Instead, Lewis has found his element, and he’s flourishing in it.
‘Broken By Desire…’ thrives in its dynamics. Spinning despair and devotion into radio-ready anthems on ‘Forget Me’ and ‘Heavenly Kind Of State Of Mind’ (weaving the lyrics “you told your friends you want me dead and said that I did everything wrong, you’re not wrong” into an upbeat bop is a feat that’s as devastating as it is under-appreciated), the record is flush with strings and backing chorus refrains purpose-made for singing along to. Bigger and bolder, it’s in the contrast of the album’s more exposed moments that it shines the strongest.
On ‘Love The Hell Out Of You’, the promise to “bring you heaven if that’s what you need” is all the more electrifying when it’s made without the fanfare. Album closer ‘How I’m Feeling Now’ is an exposed nerve of emotion made all the more sincere by the frustrated cursing wrapped up in its chorus.
A source of empathy through emotional lows and affirmations through emotional highs, ‘Broken By Desire…’ is a continuation of, more than an evolution from, his debut. Channelling sadness and self-doubt to forge connection, this album is what Lewis’ music has always strived to be: a testament to the strength that can be found in heart-wrenching sincerity.