calum scott bridges

REVIEW: ‘Bridges’ – Calum Scott

Calum Scott – “Bridges”

It’s been over four years since Calum Scott released his debut album, “Only Human“, but after a number of standalone tracks and collaborations, Calum has been giving us a taste of his new, mature style over the past twelve months. That all builds up to the fourteen track “Bridges” that Calum has finally allowed us to hear in all its glory. This album is, for the most part, stripped back with very little musical arrangement, save a piano and a few strings here and there. Instead, “Bridges” focuses on the power and emotion of Calum’s voice as he steps away from being just another pop star on his journey to join the great crooners of past, present and future. The lead single and first track, “Biblical”, enforces that. Acoustic and produced as a session track, “Biblical” centres on Calum being the greatest showman in true musical and cinematic style.

“If You Ever Change Your Mind” was the first single of 2022 and third new track to be revealed from this album and does inject some superb rhythms and beats into the down-tempo power pop anthem that should please many of his fans, not just those who will be won over by an album of this stature. The piano comes back all too soon with “Run With Me” as the notes and Calum’s voice climb higher and higher with each new line as the chorus develops. Yet another song that demonstrates Calum’s vocal maturity and confidence in both himself and his own abilities. Ballads are the norm for this album and track four, “The Way You Loved Me”, is number three in the running. It’s often so easy to miss the point of a song or not hear each word for the ‘deafness’ of the music, but with “Bridges”, this is not the case. Each and every word, sentence, verse and whole, each story and each experience are told and heard just as they should.

“Flaws” depicts every perfection and imperfection in a relationship. Recognising flaws on both sides but also attempting to preserve what there is and retain these along with everything else forever more. Calum does so with more melancholy and simplistic harmony to allow his own feelings and emotions to be told and heard. Make your decision from here… “Heaven” has been the follow up to “If You Ever Change Your Mind” as a precursor to the album release. More positive, romantic vibes with this track. Calum wants to live and love, something that is not possible in heaven. So his advice is don’t waste your time here on earth if love comes your way. Calum’s amazing song “Rise” became the second taster of this album last year along with its positive feeling video filmed on location and featuring actress Georgia Hurst. Time for something a bit more lively as Calum breaths some life into the funky “Last Tears”, which deals with first hand emotions at the beginning of a relationship that comes to an end suddenly as you wipe away the last tears before moving on.

“Half A Man” picks up where “Last Tears” leaves off. Finding someone new and picking yourself up off the ground, rebuilding your life and becoming more than what you have been before. “Without you, I’m half a man” Calum makes sure that you hear him and where he stands. The piano and stripped back nature of the ballads comes back with “Goodbye, Again”, a song that questions the meaning of a relationship. Perhaps a wrong direction or was it just infatuation at first sight, as the flame die down…”do I really love you?”. Is there any point or should I just say goodbye again? Honest and thought provoking. “I’ll Be There” is one of the standout tracks on this album. Full of life with a great atmospheric chorus that cries out for single release. Calum’s vocals, of course, dominate this more up-tempo number as he promises that whatever happens, wherever you are, he will be there. Amazing. The emotion of Calum’s voice returns for the superb “Cross Your Mind”.

“Cross Your Mind” tests the strength of a new relationship and asks the other person, “do I ever cross your mind?”. How much do they think about you? Is it enough? Calum begs the question. Answer only if you are really sure! “Boys In The Street” has been released with a great black and white video to accompany the song and deals with Calum’s own personal story from boyhood to where he is now. His own personal battles, his own fight for his own identity and his own quest to find inner peace with himself and with the rest of the world. It’s not about what we are, but who we are. The individual. Even if you’re “found kissing boys in the street”. Nothing changes. It’s still the same person at the end of the day. Be proud. “Bridges” closes with the title track, returning us to familiar territory and where we came in, stripped back and acoustic, this time finding Calum’s voice in retreat and harmonious. Soulful and often angelic, “Bridges” reaches out to all those who have suffered mental health and a desire to end it all. With love, you can walk on bridges…to reach the other side.

Calum has perhaps allowed himself plenty of time to comeback with a successor to “Only Human“. Anything else would only have been rushed and ill prepared. While “Only Human” focused on the new found star that Calum was back in 2018, “Bridges” has the feel and sound of an album that comes mid-way through an artist’s career. Distinguished and reflective, it will come as a surprise to many that “Bridges” is only the second long player to emerge from a young man still in the infancy of his music career. Which begs the question, what will we get next time…? “Bridges” is an album that plays on your emotions from beginning to end. from the sad to the tragic but also as hope becomes truth and eventually a connection with both Calum and ourselves. It’s about who we are, where we are and where we need to be. There are bridges to be crossed along the way, some of them uneven, but with that hope, you will get there. To the other side. Bless you Calum.

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