These fucking Canadians and all their emotions. They’re taking over. First, it was Drake’s penchant for melancholia that got fogey rap heads in a tizzy, then The Weeknd started paralyzing people’s faces with no remorse. Now we’ve got DVSN, a producer/singer duo of Nineteen85 and Daniel Daley recently signed by OVO, Drake’s mothership label.
All the trails have been blazed for DVSN, and extensively so, at this point. The swirling atmospheres in “With Me“ paired with trappy snares can be traced back to the Frank Ocean Family Tree, while “Another One“ shows a type of pop gloss in production that follows Abel and Aubrey’s footsteps as new explorers of the emotional. So in the modern landscape of R&B, DVSN fits quite seamlessly. Sept. 5th, their debut album (seriously, what is it with sad Canadians and their love for Autumnal months), is indeed a product of this new era; pairing the genre’s obligatory ‘baby making music’ ambiance with a newly intensified sense of mystery and anguish.
For Daley, his talent in bridging these two unique ideas together is what makes listening to Sept. 5th worthwhile. His tender voice wraps around each of Ninteen85’s intricately arranged pieces on the album. As indicated on “Angela,” he can falsetto his ass over horns, strings and keys, whatever. He’s in his comfort zone regardless. It’s his strongest vocal performance on the album, showing off every high note he’s capable of belting out, as well as heartier moments that show him digging deeper into his belly for the words. He even finds the time to pay homage to the late Elliott Smith by using his refrain from “Angeles.”
In each of these songs, DVSN and Smith are looking for a solution and whether it’s a new city or a new woman is unimportant. The novelty of newness is what they believe will save them. It won’t, but for artists who are as deeply tapped into their feelings as they are, they see a new love as the rescue rope from it all. For “Angeles,” Smith is cynical enough to know that this false hope will never truly actualize anything. DVSN, however, carries the optimism that love- or at least a decent enough fuck- can actually heal everything.
“I could make it better, if I could have sex with you.” That’s literally part of the chorus to the album’s titular track, and the confidence with which he delivers such a line makes the listener believe that Daniel Daley is very confident in what he’s able to do with his penis. Whether it’s genuine delusion or an awareness on Daley’s behalf to document his own ego’s misgivings is up for debate. His ability to convey the desperation is what’s compelling.
So try having sex with Daniel Daley if you can. Maybe things will improve in your life. They probably won’t, though. Because unlike what these Canadian Pioneers of Feel want you to think, sex and love heal nothing.
I’m joking, I’m a virgin. I know nothing about this stuff.