REVIEW | Dave Channels Righteous Political Anger On Sophomore LP

After a monumental debut album and a viral, unforgettable live performance at the BRIT Awards, Dave has become one of Britain’s biggest living rappers; the de-facto voice of a generation. His newest album ‘We Are Alone In This Together’ has enjoyed the biggest opening week in the UK for any album this year; tracks ‘Clash’, ‘Verdansk’ and ‘In The Fire’ currently sit at the 2nd, 4th and 6th spot on the UK charts, respectively. Dave’s second full length project avoids the dreaded sophomore slump with ease; it’s a monumental effort that finds the perfect balance between braggadocio and introspection, as Dave delivers the dispatches from the political frontlines.

If fans feared Dave would struggle to live up to the expectations set by his debut, they need to not fear. Dave’s sophomore album is every bit as adventurous, daring and urgent as it’s predecessor; and is so without repeating any of ‘Psychodrama’s’ old tricks.

‘All Alone’s’ best two tracks happen to be it’s longest. The 10 minute ‘Heart Attack’ is a no-punches-pulled anthem railing against cruel immigration policies – a common thread of this album, which rails against the brutal treatment of the Windrush generation by the British Conservative government – domestic abuse and poverty. ‘Both Sides of A Smile’, meanwhile, may be the best track Dave has put his name to so far; ShaSimone and Dave create a captivating dialogue depicting a feuding couple, while Blake and Dave manage to capture desperation and hopelessness with agonizing clarity.

Not every decision made on ‘All Alone’ sticks the landing; Dave’s experimentation with Afrobeats on tracks like ‘System’ and ‘Lazarus’ feels half-baked, making for some of the most forgettable additions to the track list here. The Stormzy collab ‘Clash’ features the odd baffling Jeremy Corbyn reference, while ‘Verdansk’ displays some toxic and controlling attitudes towards a girlfriend (“My girl gotta be far from social, I don’t wanna see her at Carni”). Amidst these flaws, however, it’s worth remembering that Dave is just 23 years old and is only on his second album; for an artist so early on in his career, he has created two standout LPs that showcase him as an unparalleled communicator of the political and personal angst of his generation. It’s impossible not to be excited about what he’ll do next.

Score: 7.5

Best Tracks: ‘Both Sides of A Smile’, ‘Heart Attack’, ‘We’re All Alone’, ‘In The Fire’

Worst Tracks: ‘Verdansk’, ‘System’, ‘Lazarus’

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