Out in the streets, and we don’t mean the sort where ‘Heavenly Kind Of State Of Mind’ came to be, Lewis Capaldi is known for his funny bones. At other times, he’s more known for his forlorn musical notes. In fact, he’s so good at diving into the more gloomy sides of life that Lewis touched on some of Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent’s themes during his 15-minute chat for The Rebecca Judd Show. With its purple-inked walls behind him, Lewis peels some of those humorous layers away to talk about how track nine’s ‘The Pretender’ deals with his imposter syndrome, also counting as the first time he decided to uncover details about his mental health with other writers intimately. Then similarly too with ‘How I’m Feeling Now.’
Lewis’ perfectionism snarls so tightly around his career that he’s at times wondered what it would be like to put the word “retired” into his social media bios. However, and thankfully, as much as that is a thought, he also tells Rebecca Judd that it won’t be anytime soon, believing that the most recent album to bless our ears won’t be the last. However, that hypothetical is still there, and you can hear it tumble in his head throughout those two tracks. So, in addition to ‘Haven’t You Ever Been In Love?’ – a switch in gears, if you will, his muse seeing themselves as an imposter to love his time – we thought while keeping his conversation with Rebecca Judd in mind, to analyze these songs concerning its idealist theme.
I think it doesn’t matter if you work in music or radio or if you work in McDonald’s or you work in an office or you work in wherever, I think everyone strives to be good at something or find some sort of purpose. I think sometimes, as I say, the pursuit of that can leave you feeling a bit dejected.
Lewis Capaldi on Rebecca Judd on Apple Music 1
Because if I hate recording, which I do, I hate recording. It’s boring as f**k. But if I hate that, that’s fine. But the main reason I got into music was to play live and if I’m struggling to do that ever, I think that’s where I’m in trouble, because otherwise that’s the payoff, that’s the point of doing it.
Lewis Capaldi on Rebecca Judd on Apple Music 1
We’ll start with ‘The Pretender,’ inviting us into Lewis’ mental space through this beautifully glided piano intro, just the repetition of keys, until his voice comes in, playing with that exact monotone reiteration as each line in the first verse except for one starts with the words “I will.” Instead of making promises to be true to himself, he’s making a pact with us to shapeshift himself into what we need him to be to keep being entertained. “To tell you the truth, I’m a mess, I’m a fool,” he admits, his vocals synchronizing with how soft the intro was, almost as though while he’s saying it, if we don’t hear him, he can still fall into the mask that he’s wearing. So as such, “You don’t know that / And you never will.”
“I’m no good at being who I am away from the light.”
As the chorus finishes up, the beat truly comes in, and it has this disguising droning effect that you can’t quite hear when he’s singing, and it’s only in moments when there’s a pause in the breath that you can, almost like the true him that’s peaking through. The pre-chorus also matches this, particularly the line: “To tell you the truth, I’m the fraud in the room.” He’s once again using the phrase of truthfulness to show you what’s underneath but so quickly masking it that you’re left questioning if it truly is so. As much as he thinks he’s not good enough, he also knows “I’m no good at being who I am away from the light,” so he’s willing to twist himself into this illusion.
‘How I’m Feeling Now’
‘How I’m Feeling Now’ steps away from the piano, trading itself for the strums of a guitar instead, and Lewis’ vocals come in much faster. “Will you forgive me if I’m comin’ off a little bit obtuse?” he asks, already putting up the walls of people-pleasing, though ready enough to smash them down even if it seems uncomfortable. Then in no surprise to any, that word he’s been repeating comes to make its entrance, “Well, it’s been a minute now since I have had to tell the truth,” and if we think the paralleling stopped there, then don’t pay any mind to the two lines after that because the mask goes straight up with “I know I can / I won’t.”
It sounds awfully similar to how he worded the couplet in ‘The Pretender,’ right? Those two lines are also used here to show that there’s a part of himself where he knows that he can shake loose of his self-doubt, stepping into his true self, but because he still feels trapped by past patterns, he refuses to.
“No sense of self, but self-obsessed / I’m always trapped inside my f**kin’ head.”
What’s interesting about this song is that it’s not only pulling the facade away from his mental health and his jovial appearance to the masses, but also the life in which he’s found success. It’s been brought up various times through other musical talents that the music industry itself is an illusion. Still, Lewis also realizes that the notion of tying his happiness with his goal is obsolete because there’s “No sense of self, but self-obsessed / I’m always trapped inside my f**kin’ head.”
In the pre-chorus, it also seems he’s channeling in on those mental health issues he talked about with Rebecca Judd: “End of my tether and I know it won’t be long / It won’t be long ’til it’s gone.” The “it” in the equation is his career, because if the “On and on, on and on” isn’t backspaced, he’ll mentally exhaust himself. Additionally, the only times that the song uses light language is when he’s talking to the people that care about him with “Oh, darlin’” and the industry itself, “So here’s to my beautiful life,” leaving the hatred for himself.
So when we went into lockdown, it was this sort of relief, but I had to start looking at a bunch of things that had sort of went awry. It’s been one of those things. I still haven’t quite got there, but it’s interesting that this thing that you love to do and you’ve always wanted to do becomes something that causes you such distress, but such is the modern world.
Lewis Capaldi on Rebecca Judd on Apple Music 1
‘Haven’t You Ever Been In Love Before?’
‘Haven’t You Ever Been In Love Before?’ is a bit different as it doesn’t tap into Lewis’ mental health exclusively. However, it also wouldn’t entirely be the one you’d circle as the odd one out, as it still experiments with the theme of perfectionism. It’s just that this time, the one who feels like an imposter is his muse, and the circumstance itself is love rather than a career. From those first few lines alone – “Don’t put your cover up / You know it is bad for your health.” – Lewis Capaldi understands what they’re doing, and it’s perhaps because he’s done that to himself, despite being in those different areas.
There’s also the saying that it’s easier to dish out advice than stay true to them yourself, which is interesting here as Lewis Capaldi has spent half of the record talking about his own quarrels with his demons, but has he truly let go of them like he’s asking for her to do? The couplet “Feel this happening / But you feel absent” showcases this push and pull because, while she also wants to love, it’s getting into her head that slams it on the breaks before it fully gets off the ground. It’s like Lewis knows what’s happening before his eyes, and there is so much evidence to support that, but he needs the confession from her mouth, but because of her lack of feeling worthy of it, they can’t entirely go there.
“If you knеw what I knew, you’d be terrified / Haven’t you ever been in love before?”
So the confession turns into, “If you knеw what I knew, you’d be terrified / Haven’t you ever been in love before?” Now is also a great time to say that the intake of breath Lewis takes after singing, “You heard ’em say, it takes the pain away” only indicates the feeling itself. Lewis Capaldi is so brilliant at using the moments when he needs to breathe to help better serve his vocals and showcase the emotion in the story that he’s telling, and this example only further proves that.
Then we’re going straight into the second verse, and the lines “But I feel you’re ruling out / A love that ain’t happened yet” pull at us so easily concerning the themes of perfectionism, as often our self-confidence will correlates with the actions that we take. Ever heard of that phrase “if they wanted to, they would” it’s often they do, but their own insecurities and fears stop them from making that jump. But Lewis forewarns her, “But I just can’t live with regret / I’d rather dive off the deep end,” having dealt with his own love beliefs, which is another interesting note, as it seems like his imposter syndrome doesn’t flare up here.
Tangling Other Themes Into The Narrative
Many other themes are interwoven into Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent, such as the tides of love and how difficult the transition can be after ending a romantic tale. What’s your favorite? Let us know through our Twitter @thehoneypop, and if you need more help deciding on one, you can stream the album over here.
For more Apple Music 1 interview coverage, whether for Ed Sheeran’s recent album Subtract or a deep dive into ‘Heaven’ prior to The Show’s release with Niall Horan, scroll through our Facebook and Instagram pages!