ALBUM REVIEW: Calum Scott swoons amid love’s barriers and ‘Bridges’

Calum Scott Bridges, Calum Scott Bridges

Calum Scott, ‘Bridges.’

If there’s one thing nearly everyone can agree on about the pandemic, it’s that the virus and the changes it brought about likely made you feel worse at some point. Financially, emotionally or mentally, it’s affected us all differently. Though there might have been some changes for the better, most were inconvenient at the least, all the way to outright upsetting and disturbing.

Calum Scott
Capitol, June 17

“Britain’s Got Talent” alumna Calum Scott was no exception to these feelings. 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 have been so, so many albums inspired by widespread disruption and isolation that it’s no longer as much a treat or surprise as it was during at first.

Scott’s album is full of themes of love, intimacy, spirituality and support for those around you. If you take a listen, you’re almost guaranteed to question if you put on a faith-based pop-rock record due to the songs’ wholesomeness and Biblical (sometimes literally) track names. Beginning with “Biblical,” Scott’s voice is strong as a piano follows him through a story about a deep and devoted love affair. His voice is his strongest trait. It’s effortlessly powerful and commands 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 clapping and anthemic energy feel spiritually cleansing. And “Heaven” is outright melancholic and heartbroken.

Despite the beauty of the piano playing and consistently impressive vocals, a few of the tracks get lost in the mix. “Cross Your Mind” feels generic and doesn’t seem to say much lyrically. “Tell me, even after all of this time/ Do I ever cross your mind like you cross mine,” he questions. And on “Flaws,” Calum Scott thinks back on his relationship and reminds his love that their imperfections were actually what he loved. It’s not bad, but nowhere near original, particularly with lyrics like, “If you’re looking for perfection/ Take a look at your reflection.”

On the penultimate track, Scott covers Greg Holden’s “Boys In The Street.” Its the only track he didn’t write himself, and might be the best on the album. Its pointed message about the homophobia and misunderstanding that can ensue between a father learning to navigate a child’s outed sexuality. The song follows their relationship through the years, starting with denial and avoidance, to then end with the father’s dying wish for his child to continue being himself. “He’d say, there was no way of knowing ’cause all I was taught/ Is men only love women, but now I’m not sure/ My son, keep kissing boys in the street,” he sings during the final verse and chorus. The song remains complicated and very real.

If other singers from British reality shows—Ella Henderson and James Arthur just to name a few—manage to hold your attention, then you’ll likely enjoy Bridges. If you’re more interested in the avant-garde, or genuinely creative aspects pop music allows, perhaps look elsewhere.

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