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Album Review: Lewis Capaldi's sophomore album is broken by desire

"Don't even bother with it,” said young British ballad songwriter, Lewis Capaldi, in regard to his long-awaited second album, “Broken by Desire To be Heavenly Sent.”

The artist, being self-aware that his album is no way more transformative than his last, releases an ensemble of songs that remains strict to his formulaic style of music. It is through his unrelinquishing persistence that his album is desirably broken, as the album title states. 

Capaldi’s first album, “Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent”, achieved success on the charts for years ever since its release in 2019. Four years later, Capaldi’s 12-track sophomore album brings more harrowing ballads to his discography. Though the ballads are what effectively work for him and his success, the real problem is that the artist only presents a limited amount of growth on the new release.

The album’s opener, “Forget Me”, offers one of the few radio-targeted tracks as its beat is a bit poppier than its followers. The lyrics on the track remain ballad-oriented though it's one of the only Capaldi songs that allow for some dancing. 

The song following is “Wish You The Best”, one of the album’s main singles. It’s comparable to the last album’s hit single, “Someone You Loved”, in regards to their desolate piano remnants and their ability to rank high on charts. Its lyrics encapsulate moving on after a breakup, a step further from Capaldi's consistent lyricism surrounding heartbreak.

There are some moments where prosperity seems apparent, as “Leave Me Slowly” reminisces an ‘80s Prince-like sound with its heavenly synths and angelic guitar solo. Part of the reason why it sticks out so much is thanks to well-known pop producer Max Martin being a co-writer. This is the direction that Capaldi should find himself turning towards if he truly wants a new musical path. 

Capaldi, particularly known for his heart-wrenching lyrics, does not decelerate the meaningful words on his second album. He still powers hard with lyrics that many are destined to relate and to cry to. Most of the songs consist of the same ideals whether it's the unconditional pain of heartbreak or the fear of it happening. “Pointless” shows the obsessive side of not wanting to lose somebody, as “Everything is pointless without you” is the most protruded lyric in the whole song. 

The struggle of being in love is certainly real on the album as shown time and time again. In regards to what love feels like, Capaldi sings that “It’s more like a knife to me than a high to me.” Other constant ideas consist of combating “demons” and “devils,” which are perhaps used to juxtapose the previous album’s “hellish extent” with this new album’s “heaven-sent” kind of love. 

The ‘80s alternative band The Smiths seem like they are a possible inspiration for the artist. Especially when he sings poignant lyrics like, “I ain’t afraid to die if it means I’m by your side / It would be such a heavenly way to say goodbye” in “Heavenly Kind Of State Of Mind.” 

His unique, raw-throated vocals belting their way through the song’s bridges and powerful words remain to be stimulating to the ears. Even though every song consists of that same structure, it would seem tiresome after a while, but through several listens the songs start to become more distinguishable. 

“How I’m Feeling Now” amplifies the album’s ending, significantly differing itself from the chronic listing of ballads. The song feels significant to the singer himself, with its confessional lyrics detailing his mental health struggles. At the song’s strongest point, Capaldi sings, “No sense of self, but self-obsessed / I’m always trapped inside my f—ing head.” 

Before the album’s release, Capaldi released a documentary on Netflix titled after that song. It dived into his life as a young, thriving songwriter and his struggles with Tourette Syndrome. All the while featuring him through his tough journey to create this anticipated second album. 

Though the artist states that this album is not his best, his second album shows that his formula still works even with a lack of growth. Most likely, the album will still receive as much success as his first album did, being a contender for one of the best-selling albums of the year. As young and spry as Capaldi is, he has plenty of time to grow as a musician and expand his structure of music to go beyond the typical ballad. 


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