Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent was heavenly emotional and devilishly good

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I suppose I have a thing for foreign singers, specifically Europeans. 

And Lewis Capaldi’s album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent is enough to add to his name to the extensive list.

I was first introduced to Capaldi through the fourth track on the album, “Someone You Loved.” Frankly, I wasn’t too impressed. His raw and powerful voice hit me harder than any blow, but its effect dissipated the more times I heard the song on the radio. It became just another song I changed the channel on. 

However, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent as a whole is an almost spiritual adventure into emotion, vulnerability, and the ways of the heart. 

Starting with the heart-shredding lyrics “I’m not ready to be just another of your mistakes,” the album opened with “Grace.” The devastatingly blunt lyrics were offset by Capaldi’s full voice and upbeat music. But, the true beauty of Capaldi’s voice has yet to come—it is merely hinted at, drawing you into the rest of the album. 

Between the intrusive silences of the next song “Bruises,” Capaldi digs deep to belt out his heartbreak. There is something guttural and imperfect about his voice that is gorgeous and relatable. His authenticity built a connection between the two of us— made me feel as if he were singing the words written on my heart, every heart.

Furthermore, Capaldi really knows how to play with your emotions. “Hold Me While You Wait” is so understated that it is overwhelming. It is a silver waterfall of hope slamming violently into the ground and splashing up a love-sick pink. By sharing his complex pain, Capaldi provides catharsis for himself and his listeners. It hurts to say, hurts to hear, but the hurt fades away with music at the end of the song, leaving only his shaking voice and your welcoming emptiness— not even an emptiness, just a reprieve from emotion. 

By the fifth song, I thought I may have finally found a song that wasn’t about love. I was wrong, but for once, I’m not mad about it.

 “Maybe” starts off light and vaguely relatable. By the chorus, it turns into the cynics’ anthem. If you’ve ever felt like a hot mess and a half, this is the perfect song. Towards the end of the song, a lovely and pure choir back up the roughness of Capaldi, creating an alluring juxtaposition.

“One” is a just as cynical look at love; it is an ode to the people who let the girl he loves get away. As Capaldi put it in an interview, he wanted to say “the most romantic thing he could think of in the most unromantic way possible.”

Smushed between the two, “Forever” is the complete opposite and is very on-brand with this breakup album. Numbly, Capaldi sings about accepting that sometimes two people just aren’t meant for each other. 

The album slows down with “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” the eighth song. This waltz features the true extent of Capaldi’s deep and magnificent voice as it crescendos, whispers, and shakes. Through every catchy word and phrase, Capaldi is daringly vulnerable. His careful falsetto makes you feel as though you walked in on someone mid-tantrum. The gentle and swingy music cuts in and out to emphasize his words as well as create an eye-of-the-hurricane dynamic.

The following song, “Hollywood” is an outlier with its fun quick tempo that initially hides the real message of the track. Again, this track is about a breakup, about looking back and seeing yourself in a bad place afterward. It reminds me a little bit of a few of Gavin Degraw’s hits for some odd reason. 

The album goes back to the depressing and emotional regularly scheduled programming with “Lost On You” and “Fade,” the tenth and eleventh songs. The soothing piano flows like honey with his anguished voice: mucilaginous and mellow. I can feel Capaldi’s misery as he sings his classic unembellished and truthful lyrics from his gut — his throaty voice is so compelling and expressive. 

The final song on Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, “Headspace,” began by giving me the chills and ended with me in tears. Running five minutes long, “Headspace” has all of the delightful defining elements of Capaldi’s music and is the perfect resolution and conclusion to the album.

The album wrapped up just as subtly explosive and moving as it began with the words “I never thought a lie could sound so sweet until you opened your mouth and said you loved me.”

Altogether, I would dare to say as someone who enjoys alternative music, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent by Lewis Capaldi is a better breakup album that any of Taylor Swift’s.

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