Two Capaldi’s, One Cause

Lewis Capaldi, the unstoppable Scottish musician (and FYI one of the best people to follow on instagram), has recently released a music video starring Peter Capaldi for his hit single ‘Someone You Loved’.

Just listening to the song’s lyrics lulls you into the false sense of security this is just another ballad of love lost. However, the video tugs at both heart strings and tear ducts as it shows the real-life impact organ donation can have.

The video is in partnership with two charities advocating organ donation. ‘Live Life Give Life’ is a UK based charity with the slogan “Make it your legacy”, committed to inspiring generations to leave a “positive legacy”.

The second charity is ‘Save9Lives’. Jim Lynskey who works alongside the NHS partnership and is referenced by Capaldi as an “absolutely class boy” said it was an honour to work on this video, hoping its message will raise awareness and motivate fans to register.

The sentiment of a generational legacy is typified with the cross-section of ages featured in the video. The scene opens with Peter Capaldi’s character waiting for a train and listening to something through earphones. As we’re carried through snapshots of his life with his bedridden wife, we simultaneously see a happy young family navigating daily life.

For the first minute or so the man is alone, doing mundane daily chores, earphones in, expression blank – until he receives a letter. As he lays down with his hand on his heart, we flashback to his timeless love, a beautiful relationship embodying the in-sickness-and-in-health vow often spoken with little thought. Though their faces bare the creases of time, their eyes emit pure love, mirrored by the younger couple as the marvel at their young daughter’s latest drawing.

As he joins the family in a warmly lit room the pieces begin to fall together, your breath catches in your throat (and you begin to silently sob unless you’re altogether void of emotion). As his weathered hands trace the scar on the young woman’s chest, her daughter offers a precious drawing, her mother depicted as a large crayoned heart with the caption “thank you for making my mummy better”. The timeline unites as Capaldi’s rich vocals fade out and we are back on the platform listening to his wife’s gentle, enduring heartbeat on the earphones. The same beat, a whole new life.

The video was directed by Phil Beastall, known as the “Gloucestershire film maker who exploded overnight” after his short film ‘Love is a Gift’ was shown on This Morning. It seems his trademarks are white earphones and emotional trauma.

Although “selfless” charitable contributions are common in the music industry, such as the Grenfell single, Capaldi’s offering sits alongside Hozier’s ‘Cherry Wine’. The songs demonstrate the manipulation of lyrics to apply to wider context, with the ‘Cherry Wine’ video featuring Saoirse Ronan as part of the #FaceUpToDomesticViolence campaign. However, the significance of combined artforms demonstrates how music videos can be used to elevate an issue or cause rather than indulge artist self-expression.

Capaldi’s raspy tone is akin to the forceful soul driven nature of Adele’s, and as he sings “I need somebody to heal, somebody to know, somebody to have, somebody to hold” it sounds like warped marital vows. Yet, the aching urgency of “need” and “heal” unified with the ambiguity of “somebody” makes it unclear whether he needs somebody else to be healed or quite literally needs the aid of someone to recover himself – a hard truth for so many helplessly waiting on organ donation lists around the country.

Capaldi is renowned for being unbelievably talented whilst not taking himself remotely seriously, truly a Scotsman plucked from the pub toilets where he’d hide before gigs thrown into snowballing success. To unite his music with such an honourable cause this early on in his career was a very admirable move.

After sending the video link to my family chat so I wasn’t the only loser crying on a Friday afternoon, my mum summed it up – “he’s a funny twit but has a good soul. Always be on the register.”.