Feels like: waking up in the middle of the night and reaching across the bed looking for someone who isn’t there anymore.
Artists often use their own life experiences as inspiration and the experience that Dave Longstreth is channeling is evident from the opening lines of the album “I don’t know why you abandoned me you were my soul and partner what we imagined and what we became we’ll keep ’em separate and you keep your name.” He isn’t the first musician to use the emotions of a broken relationship to create. The opening track “Keep Your Name” let’s you know this is a breakup album from the very beginning. The album is dripping with rhythm and blues and jazz influences with immediate comparisons to Justin Timberlakes most recent work(s) the 20/20 project only if he had made it with badbadnotgood (those jazz influences.)
The lyrical content of “Death Spiral” totally contradicts the energetic instrumentals which make you want to get up and dance around the room until Longstreths heartbreaking vocals sink in to your brain “what can we say? It’s too late we can’t rewind to when we were both open and amazed like a wide-eyed child’s smile. But it’s the end, we’re enemies, not friends” and you aren’t quite sure if you wanna keep shaking it or if you wanna sit in your room alone and contemplate all your past relationships. He doesn’t dwell solely on somber feelings and the album takes off during “Little Bubbles” and soars when he reminisces about the good times, as one is want to do when they gild a former flame, but his bubble eventually bursts and he sinks back into familiar subject matter. Once again one of the Knowles sisters has her hands in something amazing this time it’s Solange, it’s been a strong year for her especially, her contribution on this album was co-penning the reggae infused journey “Cool Your Heart.”
For first time listeners of the Dirty Projectors they may not fully grasp just how much the end of his, Longstreths, relationship affected this album until they do a little digging and find out that his ex was a former member of the band (Amber Coffman) and her vocals as well as other influences are glaringly missing for long time listeners of the group. No one enjoys a break up and Longstreth obviously didn’t either as this album is a testament to. But in the end it also bears fruit because it (a self titled album, Dirty Projectors) will end up going down as one of the better if not one of the best breakup albums of all time not quite on the level of Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan but within a stones throw. With a track listing of ten songs clocking in at a total of about 52 minutes it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome nor does it end too soon, just like the perfect relationship.