The way that “You Always” from Calvyn Cass just kickstarts your imagination is a wonder. From the minute the track starts with the charismatic Cass stating “You always say you love me, you always say you do”, I was instantly transported to the runway of the mind that Cass lays out for us. Like a destructive burlesque show where he’s stripping away the pain of what someone has done to him. It’s evocative and intoxicating and that’s all within the first few moments of the song.
A multi-hyphenate artist who’s not satisfied with being placed in one box, Cass wants to push the envelope on what can be done with the genre, mixing electronic and pop sensibilities. What you end up getting is something that sounds so natural in how unnatural it is. Cass’s voice is stirring, a soft high octave that knows when to cut like a knife. It’s a song that’s packed with a delicate but thumping sound but isn’t precious about how open it wants to be emotional. Cass is on stage, pulling his heart out for us to see. It’s a journey of emotional self-awareness, and for those who’ve been through the wringer the last year which saw a dramatic rise in breakups, I can imagine plenty will find a lot to connect with. There’s a theatrical element to Cass that honestly reminds me of someone like Alan Cumming.
A musically inclined darling yes, but the way they express the emotions are so wide, that even without seeing Cass’s face, you can feel every expression and contortion that the song takes a second life of its own. The song is also a kind of Rorschach test. It hinges repeatedly on the phrase “You Always Say You Love Me” and that’s something that certainly, in the beginning, sounds like a heartbroken statement of betrayal, but as the song transforms, like anything with repetition it almost begins to take a new context entirely. The song becomes triumphant as the realization of “I don’t think you do” becomes less about heartbreak and more about deciding “Oh, I don’t need this person holding me back from loving myself, or someone loving me” and that’s a pure sentiment we could always use more of. It’s a party of the mind and every heartbroken soul is invited. Cass knows what it’s like being an outsider due to their sexuality and outward appearance, and the music they make while for a larger audience I know will strike a huge audience with those who have been or are in similar situations.
A song like this has so much potency because many who need a boost of self-love affirmation will most likely feel touched, and even those not in that boat will just have a soon-to-be club jam that they’ll be able to enjoy with their friends and loved ones alike. Cass is a quickly rising indie star of major interest and I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of them. We’ll always say we love him, and truly mean it.
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