8
Sep 04

DIZZEE RASCAL – “Imagine”

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 363 views

For me, Dizzee Rascal is someone who has become really good over a short period of time rather than suddenly realigning the world from the first single on — not the most popular of views, perhaps, but to my mind it’s telling that while I’ve heard Boy in the Corner a grand total of once, Showtime I’ve already heard a number of times and there’ll be more to come.

Great as it is, “Imagine” is the song that’s the killer — I had already heard of its virtues, but the first time listening confirmed them and then the chance listening to it out of the album context fully sealed it. To me it captures a sense of icy beauty mixed with emotional yearning, and in a specific London-based context at that, like nothing else since Disco Inferno’s “Love Stepping Out.” The swirling guitar/harp/strings of the earlier song have an echo in the collages here, the high zooms and soft melodies, the sense of rising up and out. The difference? For once (for me at least) the lyrics can matter as much as the performance. Ian Crause sung of isolation and violence in the midst of seeming calm with reflection and an unnerving calm, but Dizzee aspires for a busting loose, a way to transcend and get out not only of city as deathtrap but mental attitudes just as entangling and suffocating, and his performance captures that so very well.

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