There’s something about these Toronto natives where they‘re able to deliver these sultry, untouchable, R&B cuts that evoke all types of feelings as you listen to them. On their third album, “A Muse In Her Feelings,” Drake’s OVO Sound duo of singer Daniel Daley and producer nineteen85, better known as “dvsn” (enunciated as division), deliver chilling, soulful energy bringing the feel of Toronto to each and every listener. Released Friday (Apr. 17), “A Muse In Her Feelings” comes three years after the pair’s second album, 2017’sMorning Afterand stands as the groups largest mainstream attempt (yet). The album holds 16 songs and runs for approximately an hour. Unlike the previous albums, A Muse In Her Feelings utilizes features.Artists like PartyNextDoor, Summer Walker, Snoh Aalegra, Future, Jessie Reyez, and more appear on the album.
The album’s intro, “No Good,” exhibits vintage dvsn. Over nineteen85’s dreamy, twinkling production, Daley uses his heavenly voice to sing essentially about being in this hopeless relationship. No matter how much the two love one another, it just is not working (mainly due to his effort). He puts his faults and issues on blast over 85’s R&B-trap beat declaring that he is no good at love. Daley’s voice is utterly angelic and projects such a calming source of energy.In album’s second collaboration, “Courtside,” listeners are introduced to the combination of Daley and Jessie Reyez. Reyez’s voice is distorted, unlike others, and nearly distracting. Reyez and Daley tells this story of a woman who learns her worth and value early in life. She knows the game when dealing with guys and plays them well. She’s not worried about long-term situations; her focus is her money.
On the shadowy “Friends,” Daley & OVO label-mate, PartyNextDoor urge their lovers to stop listening to their friends when it comes to their relationship. Nineteen85 provides this sci-fi, futuristic sound that perfectly mirrors the song. “Still Pray For You” finds Daley reassuring his old flame that he has not changed despite what it may seem. He delivers primetime, toxic energy as he informs her that he still prays for her regardless of where they stand. 85 reaches deep in his duffle bag delivering seasoned, soulful 80’s feels in the song’s latter half.
On lead singles like, “Miss Me” and the (somewhat) misogynistic, Future-assisted, “No Cryin” dvsn experiment sonically. They deliver more upbeat tones a bit foreign to the group’s usual slow, sultry pace. On, “Miss Me,” Daley toxically asks his lover if she misses him. He can’t help but revert to her love like a bad habit. On “No Cryin,”Both Future and Daley tell these anonymous women to live in the moment. They demand that the women forget about their old situations and stop sulking in the club. “Dangerous City,” the album’s fifth and final single, recruits Ty Dolla $ign and the Jamaican great, Buju Banton. The three request the presence of their lovers so they can just love them how they should be loved.
Over the next set of tracks, dvsn continues to try their hand with innovative sounds. The duo bends the dancehall, aesthetics to their whim on “So What.” Here, Popcaan shines with a mazy verse. Both he and Daley’s messages are clear:
- They are drunk.
- Sex is on their minds.
- They don’t care about any consequences from their wild rendezvous.
85 continues to flourish with his emphatic production. “So What” smoothly flows into “Outlandish” (another risky-yet-fun upbeat, Caribbean tune), so well you almost don’t even realize. Daley croons about losing himself in the moment and the affection of his lover. 85 seamlessly transitions “Outlandish” to the club-jumping “Keep It Going.”
While, “Keep It Going” is completely new territory for dvsn… they body it. 85’s jarring beat mirrors that of a fire Jersey mix… and it’s enjoyable. Daley demands his lover to leave the drama of their relationship problems at home and enjoy being in the moment.85’s producer skills are untouched as he ends “Keep It Going” flowing directly into “‘Flawless’ Do It Well Pt. 3.” The song oozes with stripper music appeal, infusing both contemporary R&B with striking bounce production. Summer Walker assumes the role of a Flawless, a stripper named after the song. Daley sings to about throwing all of his cash on her and icing her out. Their voices flow swimmingly like a river milk and honey. They effortlessly create a magnificent harmony together and I truly love it.
As the album continues, trademark dvsn resurges on tracks such as: “Greedy,” “Between Us,” and “A Muse.”
“Greedy” showcases Daley’s life-altering falsetto as he serenades his lover. He enjoys the relationship, the sex, and the way the two pleasures one another. Another lead single, “Between Us” (one of my absolute favorites, and flawlessly samples Usher’s 1997, “Nice and Slow” record.Enlisting the unparalleled Snoh Aalegra, the two join forces sharing that they don’t want anything in between their love. They both want to: get to the core of their love; connect; and trust each other wholeheartedly. Snoh”s voice makes you weak in the knees as she radiates grown and sexy quiet-storm energy.
Sampling Lonnie Liston’s “A Garden of Peace,” “A Muse” focuses solely on the interaction of sex. Daley beautifully sings about craving his lover’s body in a million ways. As he passionately paints her as his muse, he nearly loses his control basking in her essence. As listeners approach the album’s end, they are greeted with more of 85’s charming, vintage R&B production. On “For Us,” Daley sings about battling his pride and spending the rest of his life with his partner. Imagine Daley on his knees begging and pleading for this woman’s love (and that’s the song). 85 ends it with this powerful guitar instrumentation, adding more significance to Daley’s delivery.
Ending the project with a bang, 85 flawlessly delivers on “… Again.” Going back in time with this electrifying 80’s R&B production, he easily sets the tone for Daley as he brings the emotion and fire in his voice. Daley intensely sings that if his lover thinks he doesn’t love her then he is ready to prove her wrong. Shantel May provide’s the women’s perspective. She assures that while changes have to be made, she too is not backing down from this love. Their moving, powerful voices nearly bring you to tears. Sounding like a dynamic track on the soundtrack of a romantic movie, “… Again” ends the album on a strong note – focusing on love.
Overall, A Muse In Her Feelings takes a huge risk as dvsn ventures into the mainstream world. From dancehall, to club sounds, to their familiar contemporary R&B vibes, the album provides a unique compilation of musical layers. While some songs may not necessarily stick for some listeners, majority of the project is amazing. Honestly, I find a new favorite each time I play the album. A Muse In Her Feelings does not strive to be like dvsn’s previous projects.Instead, the album shows the duo is hungry for more and willing to venture into different sounds and audiences. I give A Muse In Her Feelings a 8.5/10.
Top 5 Songs From “A Muse In Her Feelings”:
1. Between Us
2. ‘Flawless’ Do It Pt. 3
4. For Us
5. … Again
Honorable Mentions: Dangerous City, Greedy, Keep It Going, A Muse, No Good
(PS: The entire album is great.)
You can stream dvsn’s A Muse In Her Feelings on all streaming platforms.