By: Emily Maybanks
On 9th March 2018, Calum Scott released his debut album Only Human. For those who don’t know, Calum Scott is a British singer and songwriter who gained worldwide attention when he appeared on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2015 where he sang a cover (which later became his first single) of Robyn’s Dancing On My Own. Subsequent singles: Rhythm Inside, and You Are The Reason also feature on the album.
It’s difficult to predict what to expect from a debut album and I believe all the songs on Only Human are inspired by various aspects of Calum Scott’s life and experiences. Some of the songs are very raw but I think that is what makes the music and the emotions real and resonating.
The album begins with a song called If Our Love Is Wrong. This song is as personal as it can get as it Calum Scott’s coming out story in a song. According to Calum Scott himself, “this topic was terrifying to talk about but such an empowering song to write. I’m proud of who I am now and I sincerely hope to inspire people who may be in a similar situation.” The music is quite upbeat which gives it the empowering and uplifting element, whereas the lyrics are very deep and meaningful, so it has a good balance and I think it should inspire confidence in those in the LGBT+ community in particular about embracing who you are and being proud of who you are.
The second song on Only Human is Give Me Something. Calum Scott says that this song was written “about the desperation of love. Those situations when the other person puts up their walls and won’t let you in. Sometimes you just need something to work with, some sort of signal to show it’s worth the fight.” I suppose this can be true in all sorts of relationships whether that is a friendship, a romantic relationship, a parent/child or a sibling relationship where one person is refusing to let the other in for whatever reason and the other person is left questioning and wanting something. Again, the music is reasonably fast and powerful, but if you listen to the lyrics, you can hear the deeper meaning and the emotion.
Tracks three and four are Rhythm Inside and You Are The Reason. These two songs had already been released as singles. Rhythm Inside is a song that talks about “the physical journey your body goes through when you meet ‘the one’ – that electricity and chemistry we’ve all felt!” You Are The Reason is a “song about love in all of its forms, spreading the message that the love we feel for those special people in our lives, conquers all.” This song was also released as a duet with Leona Lewis.
The fifth song, Come Back Home is “a reflective song about when you push someone to their limits, then realising you’ve pushed them past it. A reminder to not be an arsehole to the ones you love!” I think this is an important message for a song to have and a vital story to tell because we are all often guilty of pushing someone we love too far sometimes, only sometimes the damage is irreversible. Song six, Stop Myself (Only Human) is a song that defines the concept of the entire album and gives the message that “to be human is to not have control sometimes, which is okay. We’re not robots, therefore we should embrace our emotions, celebrate them.” This is just the message that the world needs today. We’re often guilty of putting on a brave face when all we really want to do is fall apart and cry.
The seventh song on the album is Calum Scott’s debut single and cover of Robyn’s hit – Dancing On My Own. This is clearly a deeply personal song for Calum Scott, who says that he “always heard beyond the production, listening to the heart-breaking pain in the lyrics” and the song became significant in his own life, reflecting his own experiences. Calum Scott slowed the song down and gave it his own interpretation to personally ensure that lyrically, it came from the perspective of a gay man. It’s a beautiful and moving song.
Tracks eight, nine and ten are Only You, Won’t Let You Down and What I Miss Most. Only You is about friendship, Won’t Let You Down is a tribute to Calum Scott’s younger sister and What I Miss Most is about missing home. Three songs which echo very simple yet important things in life – friends, family and the place you come from. The eleventh song on the album is called Hotel Room and is, according to Calum Scott, “probably one of the most heart-breaking songs for me. It’s about unrequited love for a guy who ended up not being gay – I still wanted to write it from a place of hope and optimism.” I find that a lot of the songs on this album, despite being very deep and personal and full of powerful emotion, are still quite positive and optimistic.
The twelfth song is called Good To You and the concept of this song is what advice you would give to your younger self. It’s all about telling yourself to be good to yourself and to take care of yourself. This is a lovely, positive message for a song to give, especially today where mental and emotional health and well-being is particularly important. This song advocates self-care. The final song, Not Dark Yet, brings the album nicely to a close.
For me, the album Only Human is brilliant. Calum Scott sings about life and stuff that affects us all on a daily basis. Each song tells its own story yet fits well with the whole album. It gives a quiet yet empowering sense of optimism on life.
If you want to know more about Calum, I interviewed him in October 2017, ahead of his show at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, which you can check out here.