Meaning of “The Pretender” by Lewis Capaldi

All of the songs we’ve looked at thus far from “Broken By Desire to Be Heavenly Sent” appear to be romantic in nature, but “The Pretender” has a more general applicability. What it speaks to, premise-wise, is the vocalist’s low self-esteem or less-than-ideal valuation of himself. 

But it isn’t such that those who interact with Lewis would notice that chink in his armor. Instead, as put forth he is “the pretender”, having the ability to “wear a million faces” depending on the situation or setting he finds himself in. In other words, he portrays a character that the people around him would approve of.  And his willingness to please those he interacts with is based on the vocalist’s goal not to reveal his true self, which he admittedly he doesn’t like.

“I spend almost all of my time
Feeling like I’m falling even further behind
And I know I’m so good at seeming
Like I’m not on the edge of a knife
I’m the pretender, what can I tell ya?
Designed to deceive
So, tell me who you want me to be”

Writer’s Comment on “The Pretender”

“The Pretender” was definitely made for anyone who pretends to be happy while carrying a heavy heart. I want you to understand that you are not alone. Many of us experience moments in life when we feel compelled to wear a mask, concealing our pain behind a façade of happiness.

However, remember that your struggles do not define you, and your true value extends far beyond pretense. Acknowledge your bravery. It takes immense courage to face the world with a smile while enduring inner turmoil. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognize your emotions and discover healthy ways to express them. Reach out to someone you trust, whether it’s a friend, family member, or a professional. Sharing your burdens can lighten the load and give you peace.

Always remember that your happiness matters. It is not selfish to prioritize your well-being. Dedicate time to self-reflection and self-care. Explore activities that genuinely bring you joy, whether it’s pursuing a hobby, immersing yourself in nature, or expressing yourself creatively. Find what truly pleases your soul and unapologetically invest in it.

Contributor Comments

Anne Marcia from Mexico says:

“You know, ‘The Pretender’ hits me right in the heart. It’s one of the most relatable tunes I’ve ever come across. It’s fascinating how it manages to carry such an upbeat melody while delving into deeper meanings. It’s pure genius, really. Because, you see, anyone who’s ever worn a mask just to make others feel comfortable can completely relate to these songs.

I find myself unable to stop listening to it because I am a ‘Pretender’. The song speaks to me. I pray for grace—for all fellow pretenders out there. I hope and pray that we all find the strength to become who we pretend to be. I wish for us an experience of genuine happiness, because we truly deserve it.”

Hannah from Texas says:

“I am so pleased that Lewis decided to touch on a very important subject, mental health with ‘The Pretender’. The song unveils the immense struggles of coping with anxiety and mental health issues, shedding light on how they can leave one feeling isolated and misunderstood. What truly touches me is his remarkable honesty and openness in using music as a means to express these innermost feelings.

It’s a powerful reminder that we’re not alone in our battles, and it serves as an invitation for us to embrace empathy and understanding. In listening to this song, I hope everyone finds peace. May the song remind you that your experiences and emotions are valid and that there are others who can empathize with what you’re going through. Let us appreciate Lewis’ bravery in touching on such an emotional topic, as it encourages us to foster a greater sense of compassion and support for one another.”

The Pretender

When was “The Pretender” released?

This song was released as part of the “Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent” album on May 19, 2023. This album, which is Capaldi’s second studio album, was preceded by the following singles:

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