I don’t know if any of you have listened to Capital FM for eight hours straight, but I’m going to tell you here and now: they play about ten songs. Over and over and over again. Working in the admin office of my local GP surgery proved to me that ‘Sweet but a psycho’ only gets worse after it’s twentieth play in one afternoon. But there was one song that was still hopelessly overplayed, but somehow still enjoyable. That song was Someone You Loved by Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi. Even now, the song is one which I will choose to listen to, even though it’s been played a hundred times. It’s not only beautiful at the first listen, but it continues to be beautiful even after its continual playing: and that’s a pretty rare thing for a big chart hit to do.
Capaldi isn’t popular because he churns out catchy, generic pop songs (which have their own place in music: I’m not one to judge). His music is popular because it has intense, personal meaning to a lot of people: something that’s getting progressively rarer in mainstream music. More than that though, Capaldi is fucking funny. It’s difficult to scroll down Facebook without coming across a short comic video of the Scottish singer. A combination of self-deprecating humour, genuine wit, and an impressive sunglasses collection has meant that even the most ardent hipster finds it hard not to have a soft spot for him. His recent Glastonbury performance showcases this perfectly. Responding to Noel Gallagher, who has earlier said in an interview “who’s this Capaldi fella? Who the fuck is that idiot?”, he stepped onto the stage in the trademark Oasis bucket hat and parka, which he took off to revel Noel’s face in a big red heart on his t-shirt. The singer songwriter jokes about everything from his lack of sex appeal, to the time his mum stormed into a club to drag him home, and a scroll through his social media reveals a self-aware sense of humour that frequently makes me laugh out loud. This is a man living his dream, but refusing to see himself as better than anyone else.
So why then, is he getting such criticism? Admittedly, it doesn’t seem to be getting to him too much: he labelled one tweet which stated “Lewis Capaldi? More like Lewis Crapaldi!!! Cause he fuckin sucks” his ‘favourite tweet of all time’. Yet there is still an undeniable trend to criticise music, or any part of popular culture, which has become too ‘mainstream’. Sometimes this can be understandable – if a band chooses to value mass produced catchy hits over more meaningful productions then there are bound to be criticisms. However, Capaldi has neither sacrificed his musical integrity, nor tried to be someone he’s not in order to sell more records. He’s funny, down-to-earth, and unafraid of making fun of himself. I can’t be the only one who’d really quite like to go for a pint with him.
So this is a tribute to Lewis Capaldi. He hasn’t got a six pack, or a jawline sharp enough to cut glass – and he doesn’t care. Whether it’s handing out sausage rolls at Greggs, or wearing ridiculous sunglasses, he makes people laugh, and he’s genuine in a way that not many people in the industry feel that they can be. He loves music, he’s good at what he’s doing, and honestly he just seems like he’s pretty happy to be here. I think many people in the industry could take a leaf out of his book – and so could we.