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  • Writer's pictureLynn Hilton

Caesar’s new album explores deeper themes

Canadian R&B singer/songwriter Daniel Caesar is recognized as one of the more unique voices in R&B. Born as Ashton Dumar Norwill Simmonds in the Scarborough district of Toronto, Ontario, his early life played a significant role in shaping his music.

Commencing his musical journey with the release of his debut EP, “Praise Break,” Caesar’s initial foray into the music scene was profoundly shaped by gospel influences. This EP highlighted a captivating fusion of rhythmic piano hymns and profound lyrical content. His talent was met with resounding critical acclaim, a trend he solidified by following up with another EP in 2015 titled “Pilgrim’s Paradise.”

The turning point in Caesar’s career came with the release of his 2017 album, “Freudian.” This album delves into a pivotal period in his life when he faced expulsion from school, pushing him to channel his energy into his music. “Freudian” serves as a powerful testament to his survival during this challenging time, inviting listeners to share his pain of self-discovery, love, and profound questions about life and his relationship with God. This soulful R&B masterpiece is a harmonious blend of heartbreak, intimacy, and vulnerability.

Fast-forwarding to 2019, Caesar unveiled “Case Study 01,” an album that explores the toll fame took on him, plunging him into depression. It delves into the immense pressure to meet grand expectations, ultimately eroding the very core of his self-identity.

This album, aptly titled “Never Enough,” serves as a platform for Caesar to openly confess his inner struggles and reflections about his current state of being and self-awareness.

These songs from the album resonated deeply with me because I found myself empathizing with Caesar’s emotions, and I truly appreciate how he skillfully weaves the shared human experience into his music, making it relatable to so many.

“Toronto 2014”:

The song commences with gentle hums that gradually escalate as Caesar begins to sing about the illusory nature of life. He expresses a longing to return to a time when he was trapped in the present, forced to reminisce about days when authenticity was not compromised.

At one point, he yearns for a return to 2014, the inception of his journey, wishing for the opportunity to reveal his true self to the world again. The song concludes with a poignant declaration: even though he is physically present in his city, he remains emotionally distant, confined by the falsehoods he is trapped in, always available but never there.

“Pain is Inevitable”:

In this song, Caesar delves into the chain of small errors he made that have compounded into a profound sense of unhappiness. He metaphorically portrays himself as a commodity in today’s fame-driven world, emphasizing the need to generate value and profit to maintain relevance and importance. He acknowledges this is a cost he willingly accepted in exchange for fame, a decision he plans to reckon with in the afterlife, even though it currently weighs heavily on him.

The song centers on Caesar’s contemplation of whether to break free from this never-ending cycle. Toward the end, the pace slows down, and he speaks of a metaphorical encounter with the Devil, suggesting that he might prefer that fate over the loneliness and persistent misunderstandings of his current life.

In the concluding lines, Caesar reflects on how society has shaped him, reminiscing about his lost innocence. He repeats the phrase “sweet boy,” highlighting the stark contrast between his youthful innocence and his current state as an adult, marked by a loss of innocence and trust.

While Caesar has faced praise and criticism throughout his career, his music has undeniably evolved, reflecting the depths of his experiences and personal growth. Collaborations with diverse and talented artists, coupled with the influences of his cultural background, have added layers of richness to his artistry.

As he grapples with the complexities and truths of fame, it’s evident that Caesar’s music will continue to stand out for its authenticity and the profound way it resonates with listeners. With each new release, he offers a fresh perspective on the human condition, ensuring that his music remains not only outstanding but also a reflection of the ever-evolving narrative of his life and career.


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