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“I tell my fans we’re all alone in this together.” These words arrive from Dave towards the end of the intro track on his sophomore album. They’re delivered on a plate that presents equal parts blunt honesty and comforting, yet unorthodox reassurance. It’s a unique way for the British rapper to console those who wake up every morning to take a swing at life with the hope that they can return to bed with things less broken than they were at sunrise. “We’re all in this together” is already reassuring in itself, but the addition of “alone” uncovers something many of us hope to avoid amid life’s greatest qualms: reality.
On We’re All Alone In This Together, Dave reminds us that rap hasn’t exempted him from life struggles. The things that money can’t solve still affect the British rapper daily and he alludes to it on “We’re Alone.” “You can trust me, all the sh*t that you been feelin’, you’re feelin’ with me,” he candidly raps. “We all the took the wrong turns in different streets / We all cry the same tears on different cheeks.” There’s a fine line between sympathy and empathy and Dave is very much aware of it. He creates a middle ground between the two in order to support his fans and quite frankly, anyone who takes a moment to hear his words. Dave may not be able to walk in your shoes but he faintly recognizes them as they’re not too different from the pair that cover his feet.
Dave does so much with cut-throat intention. Not in the sense of placing the necessary piece into a puzzle he aims to solve. The London native is responsible for the landscape that the intricate pieces unveil when connected. He’s the puppetmaster and the puppet at the same time. Dave knows what he’s trying to tell his fans and exactly how to tell it. Take this for example: the first song on the album is titled “We’re All Alone” and the last words Dave utters on it are “in this together.” Through the various topics he touches on throughout We’re All Alone In This Together, it’s clear that the rapper wants to make sure the album title is understood to the fullest capacity by the last time he says it.
In a profile with Ciaran Thapar for GQ, Dave points out that as his 2019 debut Psychodrama was centered around the element of fire, We’re All Alone In This Together shifts its attention to water through the visual representation of the sea on it’s cover. “I’ll probably go wind and then earth and then I don’t know if I’ll go anywhere from there,” he says, speaking about future albums. This is Dave’s world, and while he knows what it looks like in his mind, we as listeners slowly watch it come together with the very things that make it move.
So what is it that Dave feels like we’re alone in together? Long story short, it’s a culmination of everything. There’s the destruction of love far beyond repair on “Both Sides Of A Smile” with James Blake or the frustration with a system that operates with a racist lens on “Three Rivers.” Brighter moments arrive on “System” with Wizkid, an afro-fusion effort that sees the acts showering their partners with equal amounts of love and expensive treatments. “Clash,” the laser-sharp lead single from We’re All Alone In This Together, finds Dave calling on good friend Stormzy to ride beside him and flaunt their top-notch confidence. Lastly, the recruitment of UK rappers Fredo, Meekz Manny, Ghetts (who tears through his verse), and Giggs for a captivating posse cut on “In The Fire” provides fiery raps that render the passion the quintet have while leaving their egos unchecked for a moment. All in all, the album presents emotions and feelings that — at their simplest levels — are relatable to us as listeners as we too have experienced them in our own lives.
The word “alone” presents a negative connotation more often than it does a positive one, but Dave successfully uses both on his second album. He acknowledges and accepts the idea of being a nomad on We’re All Alone In This Together. At the same time, the London native reminds us that while we all have our own nomadic experiences, the loneliness we feel isn’t because no one cares. More times than not it’s because we all have our issues to solve, with most requiring our full attention to complete. On “In The Fire,” Giggs raps, “Can’t walk in my shoes / You could be riskin’ a bunion.” Our shoes are only our shoes to walk in as no one else can live life for us. This is the solo expedition Dave speaks about on his second album, We’re All Alone In This Together. Our hardships may be unique, but the London native reminds us that we all have our own to deal with.
We’re All Alone In This Together is out 7/23 via Dave/Neighbourhood Recordings. Get it here.