Daniel Caesar ‘Freudian’ 1 Listen Album Review

Instead of starting on an essay which is due in fifty minutes (23:10 at the time of writing). I’m sat on my bedroom floor with a pillow propped between my back and a subwoofer about to do my best Yoh from DJBooth impression.

Daniel Caesar is quietly blowing up, I guess I’ve jumped on the Caesar bandwagon – or even better the chariot – later than some but earlier than most. I have his Pilgrim’s Paradise his 2015 7-track E.P. in my music library but can’t remember any of the songs, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t listen to it (this happens a lot).

I remember hearing Get You a few months ago. It was nice but it didn’t really mean much to me at the time, it didn’t fit the mould of what I was listening to. I forgot about it. It kept cropping up on my twitter timeline though. There was a period where at least five girls said that it’s the song they want to play at their weddings and even more girls who said it’s the song they want to do the nasty to.

I still didn’t listen.

Then I met a girl.

I was curating music for a mixtape (cheesy I know) for her and I remembered the song. I listened and it was different. I wouldn’t say that I could relate to it but the song certainly resonated with my state of mind in a way it didn’t before.

I put it on the tape and I’ve been listening to Daniel ever since.

When I download a new album I’ve been looking forward to I usually listen to it on the first day. I’ve sort of developed a ritual – okay, ritual may be too strong a word – I just listen to the album at 2 a.m. This is mainly because my earphones are broken and only work properly when I’m in complete silence and some songs sound better at 2 a.m. It’s like the music and I are the only things awake in the world.

Strangely, I’ve been putting off listening to this album. I’m not sure why, saving myself from the emotional rollercoaster listening to it is bound to be I suppose.

Okay, that’s enough talking. It’s time to listen.

In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish. (I just copied and pasted the rules from the DJ Booth website)

Full Disclosure: I’ve heard 3 of the ten tracks before this listen (and all three were used in a mixtape 😂).


Get You (Feat. Kali Uchis)

I wonder what instrument this is. Imagine finding a love that transcends all of the things he mentions in this song. Imagine feeling this way about someone. I can’t even imagine it. I’m saying imagine a lot.

I hope it happens though. I hope it happens for every person on earth.

This song makes me think about that line in The Perks of Being A Wallflower, the quote in the movie that goes “we accept the love we think we deserve.” Imagine a love so good it has you in disbelief. Who would’ve thought I’d get you… aka you’re more than I could ever have hoped for.

Best Part (Feat. H.E.R.)

I love the opening guitar on this and H.E.R.’s crooning. Her voice when she sings sounds like neck kisses. If anyone compared me to a cup of coffee like this I’d melt.

Even when Dan does this chill kinda singing there’s still so much feel to it. They’re doing duet, harmony stuff now. The song is called best part but I’m not sure whose part I like best.

Hold Me Down

Weird opening. Techy interpolation of voices. Sounds like a phone call. Girl saying ‘I love you Danny’.

“If you love me baby let me hear you say it, I know I’m your favourite.”

A song about a girl who drives him crazy. Relatable. Hits breathy high notes, different but still nice.

The song cuts away and switches up. Female voice comes in she sounds like she floated in on the back of an Angel. No, she sounds like an angel. Caesar cuts in, in reply he sounds broody. Are they arguing? No they’re harmonising. Plot twist.

Wow.

Neu Roses (Transgressor’s song)

Okay, so I had to restart this song because I didn’t realise it was a new song. That transition was beautiful it flows perfectly. It’s the same song. Still duetting and harmonies about.

Half way beat switches up. Now it’s different. Funky. Different Dan voice. Different flow. The instrumental sample sounds like a beatboxing frog wahwahing (I know frogs don’t go wah but apparently Rihanna does).

Loose

The words are lovely. Very lovely but the songs feel the same. I wouldn’t say it’s repetitive but it’s certainly blending. This song would be better if it wasn’t Track 5. Could do with a change of pace.

There it is. Slower. Solo piano. Oh shit. Are those The We Found Love lyrics? Goosebumps! What an interlude. This is powerful stuff and it’s so understated. Feels like a movie.

We Find Love

Breakup anthem! Will this be a turning point in the album? This was my favourite Dan song before the release. “Ever since the day that I met you, I knew you were the girl of my dreams but we could never be.”

I always tell myself that there’s hope in uncertainty (I should really stop). When I listen to this I feel like there may even be hope in the depths of despair. A different hope. The hope that things are going to get better eventually.

Love will be found again.

I’m seeing Dumbledore’s Phoenix rise from the ashes in my minds eye.

The choir really add to the magic of the song.

Blessed

I feel blessed by this song

I think it’s something that many people can relate to. The longing to be in that person’s presence forever. In spite of everything. Even if it leads to unhealthy attachment.

The break in his voice when he says “and I’m coming back home to you” for the first time is worth a thousand words. When the choir kicks in and backs up the refrain it adds a thousand more.

Take Me Away (Feat. Syd)

Sounds like it’s being played underwater. Okay! Above the water now.

This has that neo-soul vibe Syd and The Internet are known for.

Did Daniel just say ‘Throw that Ass back’ ?! That’s a first. These high notes are indeed taking me away.

Guitar. Sounds like a school siren being strummed by Jimi Hendrix. That didn’t last long.

Here comes Syd. I don’t even know how to put it in words. Short but sweet feature.

Transform (Feat. Charlotte Day Wilson)

This is just a beautiful quiet reflection. In the beginning at least. Switch up, reminds me of Japanese Denim now.

Charlotte Day sounds a lot different to the features he usually has. Great nonetheless.

These harmonies are one of the major themes of the album. Okay he’s just showing out with these high notes now. Beat that Frank!

Crying electric guitar. A lot is happening at the same time. ‘Save my soul like Jesus.’

Freudian

Title track. Let’s go! The twinkling piano stands out in the beginning. Is that an insect ? A cricket chirping ?

More talk about saving. How did she save his life? What advice Daniel?

Is her love keeping him alive? I’m confused I need answers.

He mentions a phoenix too. Okay now it sounds like he’s singing about his mother. Plot twist.

Wait. Freud was weird about his mum, sexually. I highly doubt that this is where this song is going.

This ‘Hey Mama’ part sounds like Frank Ocean on Futura Free. I’m pretty sure this is Frank.

Silence.

Still silence.

More silence.

More silence still.

Is this thing still on?

Is this a test? To see how long I’ll wait?

Finally! Sounds like a cupboard being opened. Now a VHS machine? Wow throwback to Frank’s Nostalgia ULTRA mixtape. What’s next? A PlayStation sound?

No. This sounds like a movie. Church organ goes nuts in the background.

Vocals. “Isn’t it nice, human sacrifice.” Well, this is ominous.

I’d really like to know what he’s doing.

Yes, consequences usually are very costly.

Damn, I too take the easy way out most times.

This feels like death is around the corner.

Yep. He said martyr.

Tape stopped. Sounds. Fabrics moving. I don’t know what just happened. Did he kill himself? Was the breakup really that bad. Or did he just walk out of the room.

From the disbelieving optimism of Get You to this?! This was wild. I need to go find out if the rest of the Internet thinks it’s suicide too.

[P.S. I did some digging and it definitely wasn’t suicide. There wasn’t even a VHS machine. Apparently the VHS sound that reminded me of Nostalgia Ultra is actually the sound of the ‘Start’ switch on a Hammond organ. Which makes a lot more sense. All I heard was him closing the organ and I assumed the worst.]