dvsn transports listeners to the past eras of R&B on ‘A Muse in Her Feelings’

by Riana Buchman

dvsn transports listeners to the past eras of R&B on ‘A Muse in Her Feelings’


A Muse in Her Feelings

OVO Sounds/Warner Records · April 17, 2020

dvsn transports listeners to the past eras of R&B on ‘A Muse in Her Feelings’

Canadian rhythm and blues duo dvsn dropped their third studio album on April 17, a record that’s reminiscent of a classic ‘90s style with enough notable features and sampling techniques to keep listeners hooked. Paul “Nineteen85” Jefferies overlooks production, while Daniel Daley takes on vocals with a smooth voice that rarely falters.

“No Good” is a strong opener that already tugs at the heartstrings of listeners, and is anchored by a steady bass that drives the feelings home. The song is an indicator of what to expect with the rest of the tracklist, mixing in vulnerability atop an emotional soundscape. Daleys sings, “I don’t know what I did wrong/ Didn’t do this right, didn’t that like you need.” At the end of the track, listeners hear a woman speaking as the last soundbite, who says, “I have a hard time opening up to people…I just, I feel that, my being emotional in front of someone – it makes me weak.” dvsn moves through this idea and continues combating it with each song.

As the album progresses, the rhythm remains consistent throughout, some songs picking up over others, but still carrying an effortless groove. “Miss Me?” is one of the first signs of a time change, carrying a bouncier effect and successful layered harmonies, giving the tune more depth. More of that shift is seen in “Keep it Going.” The variation is much needed, otherwise every beat sounds identical.

One of the significant components of A Muse in Her Feelings is its features, from Jessie Reyez to Summer Walker to Snoh Aalegra. Daley’s voice melds seamlessly with each, providing a sturdy foundation allowing featured vocalists to shine, but not one voice overpowering the other. In “Between Us,” dvsn samples from itself, borrowing from its “In Between” single, released in 2019. Snoh Aalegra adds to the track with her powerful and delicate vocals, complementing Daley’s voice to achieve a fuller piece.

Speaking of samples, the album isn’t complete without each individual sound. “Between Us” also takes from Usher’s “Nice & Slow” (1997), whereas the namesake title track, “Muse,” samples Lonnie Liston Smith’s “A Garden of Peace” (1983). Not only do these samples illustrate a blast from the past, but they also go to show dvsn’s musical proficiency.

What results is a comprehensive product that proves mastery in R&B. dvsn is able to include all the elements which make R&B memorable and even transport listeners to the past eras in which the genre especially thrived, giving hope for today’s hits to build upon.