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Daniel Caesar Masterfully Reinvents Traditional Gospel On ‘Freudian’

This album will have you in your feelings.

7th Sep 2017

Image Credit: EdSpace

Daniel Caesar is a young talent whose soft vocals and soulful tone have been recognised by big names including the streaming service Apple Music, who have named him as their ‘Up Next Artist’.

The Toronto native returns with his debut album Freudian. The ten-track project infused with Soul, Gospel and R&B is assisted by an array of female features such as Syd and Kali Uchis who offer their own unique styles to each of the tracks. The singer-songwriter has been a Keakie favourite since his ascension last year and his first full-length album Freudian manages to solidify our opinion and win the hearts of R&B/Soul fans. Caesar’s new album is beautifully passionate, painfully honest and a delicate expression of the ups and downs of being in love.

Reinventing Gospel

The album begins with his previously released single ‘Get You’, which explores a type of love which seems too good to be true. Caesar’s vocals glide over atmospheric production creating a heavenly vibe, and Colombian songstress Kali Uchis manages to match the song’s tone with her sensuous and hypnotic vocals. The song is also sprinkled with biblical references; ‘Kingdoms have fallen, angels be calling.’ The singer-songwriter notes the Bible as a major influence in his writing, and it’s very clear on this album. Ranging from subtle lines and references, to interpolations of well-known religious songs, Daniel brings a refreshed take on Gospel. The soulful track ‘Hold Me Down’ sees Caesar doing just this as he wonderfully reinvents Kirk Franklin’s song ‘Hold Me Now’ into a bridge of his own.

This song effortlessly transitions into ‘Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song)’ where Daniel finds himself singing in falsetto about a dying relationship over a funky instrumental. Religious themes intertwine with modern relationships on this album, and on ‘Loose’ the two come together as Daniel sings over an organ about ‘cutting a girl loose’, as he explores the idea of ‘if you love something, let it go’. The song ends with a skit involving a stripped-down version of the following song ‘We Find Love’. The Gospel influence returns again as he puts a refreshing take on Donnie McClurkin’s ‘We Fall Down’. The song flaunts the beauty of all relationships, even failed ones, showing that joy can still be experienced as a result of ending a relationship.

‘Blessed’ is almost a part two to the previous song, led solely by a piano melody, Daniel bravely displays his vulnerable side, whilst backed by female backing vocals, singing lines like, ‘Yes I’m a mess but I'm blessed to be stuck with you.’ The album is filled with some great moments, from the smooth feature Syd provides on ‘Take Me Away’ and the soulful guitar riff on ‘Transform’ which wouldn’t feel out of place on an Isley Brothers track.

The album is skilfully concluded by the 10-minute track Freudian. It ends the album with its heavy lyrics, “I just want to thank you for saving my life.” And haunting vocals from an unlisted female feature. Past collaborator Sean Leon also appears on the track in the form of a skit, reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s Futura Free, as he innocently confesses to his mother that he’s lost his faith, before a one minute silence breaks up the song. Caesar then returns around the six-minute mark, singing solo against the faint notes of an organ.

Fittingly putting an end to a gospel immersed album. This is Daniel Caesar’s most personal project, and in an interview on Beats One he stated it was his most ‘special’. He’s made his mark as one of the most exciting and talented singers out right now with this project which highlights his rich vocals, honest song writing and incredible instrumentation.

Take a trip with Caesar and listen to Freudian below:

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