Dave – Psycho
Earlier this year i featured the lead single (Black) from Dave’s recent album Psychodrama. It was one of the most thought provoking songs I’ve heard in a long time and I couldn’t wait to hear the full album.
Well now the album is out, and I have many positive things to say about it (which I’ll get to at some point). But there are also two other tracks from the album that I want to feature on the blog, the first of which is Psycho.
The first track on Psychodrama, it starts by introducing the listener to the album’s thematic concept, namely that of a therapy session. Dave’s therapist notes that this is their first session, stating that they’re here to talk about Dave’s background and asks “So, where should we start?”
What follows is a three part narrative told better than most best picture winners. We start with Dave reflecting on where he is now, asking ‘How do you stop all the pain?’. He talks about drug dealing and gang violence, interspersed with moments of reflection about feelings. The first section ends with pondering “So who am I?”
The second section is an eruption of confidence and swagger. It’s reminiscent of Dizzee Rascal’s pop pomp. The production – which is outstanding throughout – becomes playful and we get fifty seconds or so of partying. Dave himself effectively identifies this section as the ‘pop’ bit, noting:
I’m a hit maker, if you haven’t noticed
I could be the rapper with the message like you’re hoping
But what’s the point in me being the best if no one knows it?
The second section ends as Dave starts to identify himself as “careful, humble, reckless, arrogant, extravagant” followed by a reference about how he’s probably battling manic depression. The mournful piano starts, the record slows, the beat disappears and we start to peer into Dave’s insecurities and pain. He ends by noting “I ain’t psycho but my life is.”
Few rappers have the lyrical dexterity to produce Dave’s flow. Very few rappers have the emotional honesty to put true feelings – vulnerable feelings – at the heart of their work like he does here. And Dave may be peerless when it comes to structuring songs – with outstanding production – around emotional journeys, especially as Psycho seems to mirror the wild mood swings that manic depression can cause.
This is an outstanding song from an outstanding artist. Check it out.