If there’s one thing almost everyone can agree on about the pandemic, it’s that the virus and the changes it has brought about have probably made you feel worse at some point. Financially, emotionally or mentally, it has affected us all differently. While there may have been a few changes for the better, most were distracting to say the least, down to being downright upsetting and disturbing.
Graduate of “Britain’s Got Talent” Calum Scott was no exception to these sentiments. That’s why, for his second album, he built the material around the need for uplifting messages and love after two years of turmoil.
The thing is, there’s been so many, then many albums inspired by widespread disruption and isolation that aren’t as much of a treat or surprise as they were in the beginning.
Scott’s album is full of themes of love, intimacy, spirituality and support for those around you. If you listen, you’re almost guaranteed to wonder if you’re putting on a faith-based pop-rock record because of the wholesomeness of the songs and the biblical track names (sometimes literally). Beginning with “Biblical,” Scott’s voice is strong as a piano follows him through a deep and devoted love story. Her voice is her strongest trait. It is effortlessly powerful and grabs your attention.
These religious themes continue on songs like “Run with Me”, where Calum Scott sings “I will be your church” to who seems to be the love of his life. On “Rise,” the applause and anthemic energy feel spiritually cleansing. And “Heaven” is downright melancholy and heartbroken.
Despite the beauty of the piano playing and the always impressive voices, a few tracks get lost in the mix. “Cross Your Mind” sounds generic and doesn’t seem to say much lyrically. “Tell me, even after all this time / Do I cross your mind like you cross mine”, he asks. And on “Flaws,” Calum Scott reflects on his relationship and reminds his love that their imperfections were actually what he loved. It’s not bad, but far from original, especially with lyrics like “If you seek perfection/Look at your reflection”.
On the penultimate track, Scott covers “Boys In The Street” by Greg Holden. It’s the only track he didn’t write himself, and it might be the best on the album. His pointed message about homophobia and the misunderstanding that can ensue between a father learning to navigate a child’s revealed sexuality. The song follows their relationship over the years, beginning with denial and avoidance, ending with the father’s dying wish that his child continue to be himself. “He said there was no way to know ’cause all I was taught/ Is that men only love women, but now I’m not sure/ My Son, keep kissing the boys on the street,” he sings during the final verse. and choir. The song remains complicated and very real.
If other UK reality TV singers – Ella Henderson and James Arthur to name a few – manage to catch your eye, then you’ll probably appreciate Bridges. If you’re more interested in the avant-garde or the genuinely creative aspects that pop music allows, maybe you’re looking elsewhere.
Follow Domenic Strazzabosco on Twitter.com/domenicstrazz and Instagram.com/domenicstrazz.