I was introduced to Dessa only last year. Since then, her album Castor, The Twin has been an album that I constantly rotate. Her snappy delivery and brilliant wordplay constantly entrance me and the fact that the music was cleverly and, often times, beautifully written only makes things ever the sweeter. It’s because of this that I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of Parts Of Speech. But did it match my expectations? Find out down below.
Rich piano chords and arpeggiated guitar chords open the album on “The Man I Knew”. Each passage then adds either more instrumentation or a new style, making this a song that keeps the listener on their toes. Meanwhile, Dessa adds beautiful vocal harmonies and her fantastic lyrical prowess, starting the album by stating, “By the time that you told me/it was already plain that you changed/And your conscience was clear/and as white as a line of cocaine.” It is the type of opening song that most artists wish they could write, one that not only set the tone for the album to come but also met and exceeded my expectations.
The album continues with her current single, “Call Off Your Ghost”, which carries that simple lyrical honesty and poignancy that calls to mind Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”. “Warsaw” brings out of the fierceness of Dessa, yet it is mixed with a pain. “Skeleton Key” didn’t speak as much to me as other songs, the over usage of the line “I’ve got my skeleton key ultimately becoming less impactful and more, “She’s saying it again?”.
“Fighting Fish” is one of the upbeat tracks of the album, one that got my toes tapping and my head nodding along. “Beekeeper” opens as a waltz, lilting back and forth. It is one of the more beautiful tracks of the album.
It is clear that the production and scope were magnified greatly for Parts Of Speech, with experimentation lauded and musicality embraced. This isn’t a hip hop album built around beats, it is a hip hop album that takes full advantage of the intricacies and talents of Dessa. It is also an album that is mature, full of pain, regret, hope, love, loss, and life.
The Final Word: Each song on Parts Of Speech is a testament to amazing songwriting and Dessa’s voice punches, soars, cuts, and dives right through to the heart, squeezing until every last drop is affected.