Ambitious. Cinematic. Razor-sharp critique of big issues from Brixton-based rapper Dave on his second full length player.
Release Date: 22nd July 2021
Formats: CD / Vinyl / Digital
Dave’s latest album, We’re All Alone In This Together, is an ambitious and cinematic follow-up to 2019’s Psychodrama. The Brixton-born rapper once again tackles a number of important and, at times, painful topics, including immigration, knife crime and domestic abuse. Dave manages to discuss these topics with his characteristic razor-sharp wordplay, without detracting from the seriousness of the topics at hand – a trait that has already endeared him to millions. He clearly has a lot to say. It is easy to forget that Dave is only 23 years old. His lyrics, as well as the sophistication of the soundscapes present across the album, suggest a wisdom beyond his years.
We’re All Alone opens the album and sets the tone. A dark, moody beat gradually builds, while the braggadocio present in some of the earlier lyrics quickly subsides into something more serious. When discussing a message received from a suicidal fan, he comments ‘Me and him got more in common than he thinks, but I tell him to go and see a shrink, so I can go on and live with myself’. Throughout the album, the cockiness that has become synonymous with mainstream rap is contrasted with Dave’s unease with his rapid rise to fame and wealth. The candidness with which Dave discusses his mindset and concerns is truly refreshing.
The atmosphere continues to build throughout the defiant Verdansk, driven by a tight, fast-paced lyrical flow and a trappy piano-led beat. Clash, a single featuring Stormzy, is perhaps as commercial as the album gets – it is packed with swagger, and wants to have the listener bopping their head throughout. Similarly, In The Fire is packed with guests, including Grime royalty Giggs and Ghetts. It deliciously samples the gospel song “Have You Been Tried In The Fire”, and is a real highlight of the album.
These more upbeat songs do not detract from the poignancy, however. If anything, they serve to make the sincerity of some of the later tracks more cutting. It’s hard to do justice to songs like Three Rivers (covering immigration and attitudes to race, with lines like ‘they were broken by the country that they came to fix’) and Heart Attack (discussing topics such as knife crime and incarceration), without this becoming a much deeper discussion. Both seamlessly blend in recordings of people affected by these issues and news reports with Dave’s sensitive personal takes.
Dave’s Nigerian heritage and Afrobeat influences are showcased on the album; most heavily on the excellent System (featuring WizKid) and Lazarus (featuring Boj). The consistent themes and sober tone of We’re All Alone In This Together benefit from variety in the style and pace of the tracks.
Like all good cinematic experiences (the album even starts with the sound of a universal film leader countdown), there is a love story in here as well, in the form of songs Law Of Attraction and Both Sides Of A Smile. The latter of these does a novel job of showing both sides of relationship troubles, when Dave’s verse smoothly blends into the voice of woman sharing her experience.
We’re All Alone In This Together is an impressively produced album, which hooks you into following the lyrics. It’s as enjoyable to listen to as it is thought-provoking, showcasing the artist’s versatility. This album is sure to continue Dave’s path to being a British music icon and it’s exciting to wonder what he will produce in the future.
Watch the official video for Clash from Dave (featuring Stormzy) below.