While the world continues to wryly scoff at the latest glorified complaint that Taylor Swift so imprudently released to the public, Daniel Caesar gives the people hope that love’s liberating warmth doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. The Toronto artist’s impressive debut Freudian combines gospel and R&B to elevate 2017’s exemplary affection and sensuality to new heights. As the album title suggests, each song reveals subconscious desires slipping through the cracks of unintentionally heartfelt confessions. The continually slow progression and Frank Ocean-esque soulfulness radiates comforting intimacy that puts an appreciative smirk on listeners’ faces as they realize that a respectable artist finally believes, not just promotes, that love can truly win in the end.

As I explained in the July’s post FeenyFaves – Best Songs of 2017: Q2 (April – June), Daniel Caesar has been on the verge of poking his head above fame’s proverbial waters for some time now. Rather than immediately springboarding Caesar to superstardom, Freudian is likely his ticket to to industry-wide recognition. The album was Caesar’s first attempt at collaborating with other producers and vocalists, and he proves that he can thrive with piers that compliment his romantic nature. With a voice like Caesar’s, there’s so much more to be desired, as his future collaborative possibilities are endless…as long as he makes himself seen. Seeking out star-power greater than his own to latch onto would be the most shrewd move that Caesar could make at this point, but his idea of a flattering equal is largely up to his own imagination and ego.

Freudian‘s only glaring problem is its lack of risks. Daniel Caesar’s passion is powerful and his female counterparts reciprocate that passion well, but the album’s flow bit too constant in its slow, mellow suggestiveness. It’s obviously beneficial to keep a central theme, but Caesar struggles to escape from the stylistically sluggish progression that the audience comes to expect by the 3rd or 4th track. The closest illustrations of the album breaking out of it’s self-induced shell are “Get You” and “We Find Love.” Caesar’s unaccredited collaboration with members of Bad Bad Not Good on “Get You” gives the ballad a bass filled funkiness not seen on other tracks, while “We Find Love” doesn’t bask in its own comfort but rather soars in a freeing “I told you so” emancipation. Caesar’s next move on the figurative chess board could be a critical one as he’s put himself in position to put some kings and queens in check.

Favorite tracks: Get You, Blessed, We Find Love, Best Part, Take Me Away, Loose