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On Daniel Caesar, 'Freudian' & the Preservation of Young Love

"You are the reason, the reason I sing / I have to preserve you cause you’re my everything."

Young love is where heartbreak is hidden beneath the horizon. It is bright and free of corruption. It is that crazy feeling we get in our chests when a significant other walks into the room.

On the flip side, it also means heartbreak. The kind of heartbreak that can physically and emotionally cripple every aspect of life, from the way we view the world to how we interact with friends and family. The kind of heartbreak that can steal the idea of pure love and replace it with a broken and stained version.

On his newly-released debut, Freudian, Daniel Caesar tackles the subject of love through the eyes of a 22-year-old who hasn’t yet acquired the necessary life experience that only comes with age.

Freudian doesn’t consist of complex lyrics written to capture the definition of love through metaphors, nor does it focus on the darkness and chaos of love. Instead, the album focuses on the purity of love—young, true love—and hope.

Surrounded by lush production and brought to the listener in a voice full of warmth that cascades into ears like a Jamaican waterfall, each song feels like the embrace of the most comforting hug. Freudian grips the soul with Cupid's iron fist, plucking heartstrings easier than a professional harp player and providing a sense of naïve hopefulness that people tend to lose once they’ve experienced their first taste of heartbreak.

When love is good, it’s really good. For listeners, the album’s first two tracks, “Get You” and “Best Part,” exemplify this euphoric feeling. On "“Get You,” Caesar reflects on his disbelief over stumbling into love, wondering out loud, “Who would’ve thought I’d get you?”

Immediately this brought to mind the saying, “People accept the love they think they deserve,” the theme of the 1999 novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Often times, when we feel love radiating from a significant other, we question how we got so lucky. It’s a love so fulfilling that we don’t feel as if we deserve it. All we can do is sit back and wonder how we managed to become so fortunate. Throughout the entirety of “Get You,” that wonderment is on full display.

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On “Best Part,” we hear Daniel committing himself to his girl and their shared love. He is finally comfortable admitting that she is the highlight of his life. She’s the one who brings him the sunshine he needs when it’s cloudy. Falling in line with the title, he concedes that if his life was a movie, she would be the best part.

It’s in the song’s chorus, “You know that I see it, I know you’re a star. Where you go, I follow, no matter how far,” that we see the hope shine through. Hope for a future. No matter where she goes, Daniel believes he will always follow her. This is a mindset that many young adults can relate to. From starting college to getting a real-world job to moving into a first apartment, there is a never-ending list of life changes that threaten to tear apart a relationship. It’s the genuine hope that these events won’t affect their relationship that lies beneath the surface of “Best Part.”

As the album progresses, we begin to witness the strains on a relationship. On “We Find Love,” the Toronto-bred singer reflects on the crumbling nature of this once perfect love. Within the lyrics, “Ever since the day that I met you I knew you were the girl of my dreams but we could never be,” he admits the strength of the feelings that he held for his girl but also relents to the reality of the situation.

This is a feeling many people must face in their younger years. Nobody enters into a relationship wanting for it to crash and burn, or as Caesar eloquently puts it on “We Find Love,” “This thing called love comes crashing down." A reminder that happily ever after isn’t a popular ending.

While hope is lost on “We Find Love,” it doesn’t stay lost for long. In a beautiful transition between songs, “Blessed” follows with a sense of hope in abundance, with Caesar admitting, “Yes, I’m a mess but I’m blessed to be stuck with you.” Even after such a sad and bleak song like “We Find Love,” within “Blessed” love is apparent and above all, there is still hope.

The feeling of hope that transcends the entirety of the album is evident in no greater instance than in the chorus of the second to last track, “Transform.” With eyes looking forwards and a voice full of confidence, Caesar sings, “It’s never over until life ends, lay down beside me, do it again.

The album begins in the honeymoon phase of a relationship where love and happiness are all the eyes can see. Slowly, this love begins to deteriorate as the fights build and the kisses wain. But on “Transform,” against all odds, love, and hope make a strong comeback. Throughout it all, the purity of uncorrupted love is what kept hope alive, and it’s the love that Daniel Caesar believes in that keeps Freudian moving forward.

You are the reason, the reason I sing / I have to preserve you cause you’re my everything,” Caesar sings on the album’s title track, a reminder that young love and hope are worth preserving regardless of the heartbreak that might suggest otherwise.



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