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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

“NEVER ENOUGH” levitates listeners through stages of grief


   R&B artist Daniel Caesar’s new album, “NEVER ENOUGH”, released April 7, is transcendent. As soon as I put my headphones in, the world around me faded away and I was transported to a world of late night thoughts and trapped emotions.

   In “Freudian”, the artist explored sensuality, and in “CASE STUDY 01”, he had an existential crisis, but “NEVER ENOUGH” tells a story of pain, growth, and maturity. It is seen as Caesar’s comeback album after his 2019 controversy.

   The album opens with the soft hum of “Ocho Rios”, which felt like waking up after floating in a deep, empty sleep. The lyrics are a thank you, an apology, and a prelude to the songs to come, conveying insecurity, regret, gratefulness, and need.

   Time emerges as a key theme in “Toronto 2014 (with Mustafa)”, as Caesar reflects on how far he has come and how much he has learned. With lyrics like “If only I could find my way through space-time / Back to when I was happy being me”, Caesar expresses longing for the days before fame.

   The floating vocals of “Let Me Go” and “Do You Like Me?”, immerse listeners in Caesar’s dilemma of longing for someone who is already taken, not wanting to rush things, and being afraid to miss his chance at love. His angelic yet sometimes strained singing in “Let Me Go” juxtaposes the raw desperation in his words. Caesar’s overthinking of his relationship in “Do You Like Me?” contrasts the confident guitar and upbeat groove. Through these opposites, Caesar demonstrates the turmoil and vulnerability of trusting someone with one’s feelings.

   Where Caesar truly opens his heart, however, is in “Always”, my favorite song on the album. Tender piano and emphatic drums and bass make it a classic slow dance to sway and scream-sing to. Meanwhile, trembling vibrato and heartbroken background vocals give it the ache of a love letter to a lost relationship. Again tying into the theme of time, Caesar struggles to move on from the past, singing, “I don’t want things to change / I pray they stay the same”.

   Yet, just as “Always” changes keys to a more hopeful tone, the mood shifts suddenly with the melancholy piano of “Cool”. It is the most depressing track on “NEVER ENOUGH”, conveying a loneliness accentuated by the swells of cellos and violins. With no drums or bass to compete with Caesar’s singing, “Cool” contains the most prominent vocals. Lyrics like “I see myself five foot four, playing in my room alone” feel as if Caesar’s lyrics were taken directly from his brain.

   After “Cool”, Caesar gets more creative, playing with voice filters and incorporating more intense, warped guitar, like in “Shot My Baby”. While he experiments with alternative hip-hop sounds, the album remains firmly rooted in R&B, and Caesar returns to his smooth, gospel origins in “Superpowers”. In “Unstoppable”, the storyline ends with satisfaction in his worth as Caesar looks to the future and sings, “Now who’s gon’ stop us / we’re unstoppable”.

   Each of the 15 songs on “NEVER ENOUGH” is a distinct Swindow into Caesar’s heart. Shifting from high, faraway vocals to more rap-like verses, the album is a must-listen journey of love, yearning, nostalgia, and acceptance.

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About the Contributor
Sophia Pu
Sophia Pu, Editor in Chief
Sophia Pu is the Editor in Chief for the school newspaper, marking her fourth year with the team. Outside of her editorial duties, Sophia is involved in Speech and Debate and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time in nature. Her commitment to the newspaper grew from a passion for interviewing a diverse range of individuals she might not have interacted with otherwise.
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