BOSTON/NE BANDS, Fresh Stream

CAEV – It Is What It Is

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Boston native CAEV carries an elasticity in his voice that very few possess in music. His presence can transcend your speakers and physically engulf a room at the drop of a dime. Part of this comes from his artistic and sonic versatility (see the Nirvana-inspired “Count On Me” and adrenaline-fused “Sneak Dissin”), while a lot of his natural presence comes from an instinctive command of melody. CAEV lives his life as a true artist; where boundaries and algorithms are nonexistent.

Without the necessity to adhere to one style, CAEV continues to elevate himself, especially from a personal and emotional standpoint. His newest single “It Is What It Is” packs a myriad of thoughts, feelings and expressions to last an entire year. Accompanied by a powerfully nostalgic video, CAEV’s most recent offering connects loss with love, sadness with perseverance, hard work with success, and past with present and future. “I can’t feel feeling/Dodging all these demons/But, I think I need them,” he spits, offering more transparency and honesty than ever before.

Grainy homegrown videos of family and friends signify who and what inspires CAEV on a day-to-day basis. With the help of some of his closest friends, the chameleonic artist captures life on and near Blue Hill Avenue, an important street that connects Dorchester with Mattapan and Roxbury. CAEV and his friends highlight the parties, family gatherings, studio sessions, heartfelt embraces, and everything else in between. With gentrification continuing to be the unfortunate focal point of these areas, CAEV makes it his prerogative to illustrate the true charm and sentimentality found in specific cracks and crevices of his home. Beyond that, he’s honest about life (“hearts break/life change”), but seemingly never cynical.

Above all else, CAEV epitomizes the idea of overcoming survivor’s guilt, emptiness, and lost feeling in general. His voice reaches angelic heights during the second verse as he offers a forthright summary on what he’s done and what he’s learned throughout his life  (“You gotta stand for some/N***a don’t fall”). He’s always been someone willing to experiment and stretch his own limits, but to be honest, I’ve never heard him more self-assured than he is during that second verse.

As a whole, “It is What it Is” is one of the most powerful songs to come out of Massachusetts in recent years. It’s honest about pain and suffering, but it’s also a celebration of the people and places that make CAEV who he is. To encapsulate so much passion and emotion into four minutes of video is a tall task, but CAEV succeeds by searching, and ultimately finding an intimate connection through simple slices of life that, more often than not, we take for granted.

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