Widgets Magazine

Wind down with Daniel Caesar’s debut album ‘Freudian’

Courtesy of The Come Up Show

It’s no secret that Canadian artists are making their mark on the international music industry, and Daniel Caesar is no exception. The Toronto native’s gospel background infused in his new R&B exploits creates a truly psychedelic, otherworldly experience in his appropriately named debut album “Freudian.”

Caesar explores and affirms Freud’s hypothesis that sexual energy is the most powerful of human energies through his suave, silky vocals and alluring falsetto. The calming effect of his voice goes deeper than just the auditory nerve and serenades the heart and emotions. Calling upon his religion and piety to protect him from heartbreak, Caesar speaks to the pangs and struggles of love and explores the unpredictability of this energy making young adults the ideal audience for his message.

Evidence of Caesar’s attempt to harmoniously bridge his gospel background into the smooth tones of R&B is present in the opening lines of lead single and opening track “Get You,” featuring Kali Uchis. A smash hit, it quickly brought Caesar to the forefront of the international R&B scene. “Through drought and famine, natural disasters / My baby has been around for me / Kingdoms have fallen, angels be calling None of that could ever make me leave,” he proclaims as the bass guitar pulls at the heartstrings with its deep, seductive tone. The intertwining of female and male vocals towards the end of the single relaxes the mood and atmosphere. Uchis’s vocals intensify the romantic energy that Caesar’s voice builds, preparing the listener for the emotional rollercoaster that is “Freudian.”

His track “Hold Me Down” brings the listener out of the relaxed calm of the majority of the album and into the pains of a relationship enhanced with sultry percussion beats. The background vocalists create a cotton candy-like atmosphere throughout the song, which enhances the memories of a lost love that Caesar painfully relays. Just when the song seems to be over, the final bridge and outro encompass the emotional reaction to a lost love, using gospel to enhance the soothing effect that is developed in order to help cope with the situation. It serves as a remedy to those still hurting and connects deeply with an audience that understands through Caesar’s honest rendition of his personal experience.

“Neu Roses” is a distinct presence on the album in its full usage of a cappella to create a unique R&B atmosphere. It begins the introduction to a more aggressive and critical Caesar in the middle of the album. Similarly, the next track “Loose” contrasts the apologetic mood of “Neu Roses” with an unapologetically judgmental message explicitly stated in its refrains: “You better cut that girls loose …”

The album’s final and title track, “Freudian,” departs from the dream-like atmosphere of the rest of the album and uses the blues guitar, deeper vocals, and a syncopated beat to smoothly bring the listener back to reality. It is a peacemaker of a song with failed love and the acknowledgement that it is time to move on. It is the final transition in the album, bringing the listener gently back to Earth from the cloud that carried them through the rest of the album. The diminishing gospel vocalists and the intensifying vocals from Caesar signal the end of the album, yet the end is satisfying and welcoming.

“Freudian” is a journey through the effects of sexual and romantic energy whose effervescent, lyrical tones intertwine and complement the suppressed emotions of all who have been through failed relationships. Though not perfectly able to be categorized as a breakup album, Caesar’s soothing voice and astute knowledge on the subject has much to offer for those undergoing the process of coping. However, this album is also ideal for relaxation and coming to terms with the past, which sympathizes with and caters to the general public. Whether you are preparing for that dreaded midterm this winter quarter or saying goodbye to old friendships, “Freudian” is worth the listen.

 

Contact Nivedha Soundappan at nivedhas ‘at’ stanford.edu.