After a three year break, 24 year old singer-songwriter Lewis Watson from Oxfordshire released his shimmering sophomore album ‘midnight‘ today, cementing his place in the hearts of many by being everything fans had hoped it would be and more.
Starting on YouTube many many moons ago posting covers from his bedroom, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of seeing Lewis flourish as a musician from afar. I’ve almost grown up alongside him in a way, with some of his earlier original YouTube material and eventual EPs soundtracking the majority of my teenage years. Since 2010, Lewis has released five EPs (It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW, Another Four Sad Songs, The Wild , Four More Songs, and Some Songs With Some Friends), collaborated with artists such as Gabrielle Aplin, Krept & Konan, and Hudson Taylor, and signed a record deal with Warner Music. In 2014 he released his debut album ‘The Morning‘, capturing the hearts of many and peaking at number 28 in the UK album charts.
Today, three years later and after partnering with Indie label Cooking Vinyl, Lewis’ second album ‘midnight‘ was put out into the world, consisting of 11 tracks, each perfectly encapsulating the warm, acoustic-pop that we are all familiar with. The album (produced by Oh Wonder’s Ant West) opens with the first single from February last year ‘maybe we’re home‘, showcasing a slightly heavier side to Lewis that we hadn’t previously seen before, all still effortlessly complementing Watson’s vocals. ‘little light‘ follows, with polished guitars encompassing passionate and emotive rose-tinted lyrics that discuss that incomparable butterfly feeling of finding ‘the one’.
Track 10 is a collaboration with Lucy Rose titled ‘slumber‘, and sees stunning lilting harmonies between the pair. Lewis previously said in a vlog on his second YouTube channel that the song is about his sleep struggles, or ‘insomnia’ as he hesitantly refers to it as, that he’s had since he was 14, and how sleeping beside someone helps keep it at bay. The final single we saw before the album’s release was ‘forever‘, catchy and very much reminiscent of the EP ‘It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW’. ‘forever‘ documents the highs and lows of a relationship, from the initial intensity and acute passion, to the subsequent parting of ways after a gradual breakdown in communication, yet still desperately wishing for it to somehow work out.
Personal favourites from ‘midnight‘ include ‘la song‘, and ‘give me life‘. ‘la song‘, a demo track that was initially featured on the deluxe edition of ‘The Morning‘, has actually been one of my favourites for a long time. The track has of course evolved since 2014, resulting in a tender, more polished sound with the addition of a full band providing a depth that was previously absent, all still evoking the very same intense emotional reaction.
Alternatively, ‘give me life‘ opens with powerful guitars, a killer riff and Lewis’ grittier voice all blending seamlessly into the ultimate love song that we’re so used to hearing from Lewis, all about finding that someone with the ability to ‘fill the hole in our hearts’. The album closes on ‘(midnight)‘, a gentler track, with piano in place of guitar. Poignant and emotive, delicate whispers of ‘we can go on forever’ build into loud, beautiful raw vocals, all eventually fading out before the final sounds of shuffling, a sigh, and a door closing. ‘(midnight)‘is the perfect conclusion.
Holistically, ‘midnight‘ is a phenomenal sophomore album, exquisitely boasting Lewis Watson’s maturation as a songwriter and artist. After seeing him live twice in 2016, I urge you to grab some of the few remaining tickets to Lewis’ headline shows over the next few weeks (catch ya girl at Glasgow’s Garage on Monday). I’m excited to see where 2017 takes Lewis, he’s got an undoubtedly big year ahead of him.
Oh, and go buy the album, yeah? x