Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi might not have been around for long, but he’s already made a name for himself as one of the hottest talents to emerge from the UK in years. In 2019, he became the first artist in history to sell out an arena tour before releasing a debut album. When his album finally dropped later that year, it topped the UK charts for a whopping six weeks. Meanwhile, his most famous single, Someone You Loved, is the longest-running top UK single from a British artist of all time. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Lewis Capaldi songs of all time.
In 2018, Capaldi joined forces with Canadian singer and songwriter Jessie Reyez for Rush, a song that Capaldi describes as being about “heartbreak and the weird headspace you occupy after the end of a relationship.” A densely textured, emotionally literate song with some gorgeous vocal interplay between Capaldi and Reyez, it peaked at No. 74 on the Scottish Singles Chart on its release as a digital download in February 2018.
Like most of Capaldi’s songs, the lyrics of Tough drip with heartbreak and desperation. The pulsating beat, on the other hand, was made for dancing. It’s epic in scale, and while it may have been released before Capaldi reached headliner status, it was clearly designed for the stadiums he’d soon be filling. Released as the lead single from his second EP Breach, it peaked at No. 63 on the Scottish Singles Chart and No. 39 on the Irish Singles Chart.
On One, Capaldi examines the difficulties of being in a relationship where you give and give, but get nothing in return. It’s not a complete downer though, as he ultimately concludes that the heartbreak that comes from unconditional, unrequited love can be healed by finding someone who’s gone through the same. Although it wasn’t released as an official single in the UK, it managed to reach No. 26 in the Scottish Singles Chart and No. 6 in Ireland, eventually certifying gold in both countries.
Not every song on Capaldi’s debut album is a downer, but ultimately, sad songs are his bread and butter. He does heartbreak better than almost anyone else in the charts, and on Forever, the sixth track from Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, he’s back to doing what he does best – singing about loves complications over a mellow bass and a twinkly piano.
Speaking to Huffington Post about his inspiration for Fade, Capaldi revealed: “Fade was just me wanting to write about the moment in a relationship you realize that you’re so enamored with someone, so much so that you couldn’t imagine yourself living without even all the bad traits they have.” With Grammy-award winner Malay on hand to help out with the lyrics, Fade became one of Capaldi’s earliest hits – released as the third single from his debut EP Bloom, it peaked at No. 33 on the Scottish Singles Charts in October 2017.
As The Guardian notes, the majority of Capaldi’s debut album may be “bracketed firmly in the tiramisu-for-dinner phase of being dumped,” but its opener is a Mumford-style hoedown. Infused with gospel energy, Grace starts off softly before building into a euphoric, fist-pumping anthem. It was a rare moment of cheer for the Scot, but a very welcome one for his audience. Released as the fourth single from Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, it peaked at No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart, eventually certifying double platinum with sales of over 1.2 million.
4. Before You Go
Described by clashmusic.com as a” rousing piece of acoustic songwriting with a driving vocal” and “trademark Capaldi,” Before You Go is another wonderful piece of melancholy from the Scottish singer. Inspired by the suicide of his aunt when he was a child, it’s been described by Capaldi as his most personal piece of songwriting yet. Personal or not, its lilting melody and pitch-perfect vocals had enough universal appeal to take it to No.1 on both the Irish Singles Chart and UK Singles Chart in 2019, and No. 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 the following year.
3. Hold Me While You Wait
According to Capaldi, Hold Me While You Wait is “about the uncertainty of being in a relationship when your partner isn’t sure what they want”, something he considers to be “one of the most desperate places you can find yourself in.” Never one to get caught up in his own success (in 2019, his temporary Twitter handle was “one-hit wonder), he had zero worries about whether the single would follow the chart-topping success of its predecessor, Someone You Loved, telling officialcharts.com, “Don’t ask for too much, let’s not get greedy.” Despite his expectations, it was a runaway success, debuting at No. 1 on the Irish Singles Chart and Scottish Singles Chart, and No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart.
Capaldi excels at beautifully sad songs, and in 2017, he pulled another emotional sucker punch out of the bag with Bruises. It was first released independently in March that year, but was later re-issued as a digital download after Capaldi won a record deal with Virgin Records. In January 2020, it got a third lease of life when it was released as Capaldi’s third single in the US, where it peaked at No. 22 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and No. 47 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.
1. Someone You Loved
Some great songs take minutes to write. Others take years. Someone You Loved fell somewhere in between, taking Capaldi around 6 months in total to finish. Speaking to NME about his songwriting process, he explained: “A lot of people say that ‘the best songs fall into your lap’ and that they’re the easiest ones to write and take the shortest amount of time: I wholeheartedly disagree with that. I think my best songs come from me sitting at a piano, bashing my head against a brick wall for hours and hours on end to get one good melody.” Clearly, the method works for him – released in November 2018 as the third single from his EP, Breach, Someone You Loved spent eight weeks at No. 1 in the UK and 1 week at No. 1 in the US. It also managed to pick up a Grammy nomination along with a Brit award for Song of the Year.