By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor
The fourth studio album from R&B star Daniel Caesar, “NEVER ENOUGH,” is a solid hour of music that flows smoothly together like its opening track “Ocho Rios” would suggest.
It’s actually surprising that 18 songs would come together for such a brief run time, but many of the tracks are short and sweet, like “Valentina,” which clocks in under three minutes in length. And that’s the run time for the bonus version, as the original record is only 54 minutes long.
My gripe with this album is partly due to Caesar’s style in general. When you make an album full of mellow, slow songs that are short and meant to flow together, you end up getting an album that is pretty shallow in wavelength, which is to say the whole album is like a depressive episode. It’s just low, low, low.
Maybe that’s the rock fan in me speaking, the one that appreciates an album with highs and lows alike. Ballads and laid-back songs are best separated by something upbeat so that the whole hour doesn’t just drag on.
The closest we get to that is “Shot My Baby,” which is dramatic in a way that the rest of the album is not. As the title pretty succinctly explains, this song is about a man who shoots his girlfriend and her lover after he found out she was unfaithful. It’s understandable that this song has the most attention-catching amount of energy on the album, but the lyrical content makes it an ironically enjoyable listen.
With that said, the music itself is good, even though very few songs stand out. “Let Me Go” is a classic modern R&B tune with those signature drums and low guitars. “Always,” which got an added Summer Walker feature on the bonus version of the album, is a sweet love song.
What’s interesting about this album, Caesar’s highest-streamed to date, is the way that it’s working to erase the reputation for controversy that the singer earned in 2019 after his comments on Black people angered many of his fans.
It debuted at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 chart, where it has remained for the entirety of the week since its release. Clearly, the controversy hasn’t deterred fans from listening to the music after all this time. If “NEVER ENOUGH” can dust off the singer’s reputation, keep an eye out for the album when it comes time for next year’s Grammy nominations.