Kevon Pagis’ “Delirium” is Hit or Miss

Kevon Pagis’ Delirium starts out like a leisure, oriental sky walk, only later to excite and then disappoint as it trips over itself. What sounds like a leaky faucet plays intermittently in the beginning of the title track “Delirium,” and the listener is escorted from a sky palace down to earth, where the art appears grounded in a higher reality and the rapper describes the symptoms of his delirium which he feels imprisoned by. “My nights don’t consist of no peace. “Maybe my daughter is better without the man of imagination. He can’t control his patience. He preach of golden places, but he won’t never make it,” the rapper writes. The houston artist’s pessimism encumbers him and his sadness dampens his spirit. “He up here Christ conscious, he got so good with faking. Man I’ve been dreaming daily, and I’ve been sleep walking. And I’ve been God talking.” We all lose faith at different point in our lives –We lose faith in people, ourselves, and even the concept of faith itself as it applies to pre-destiny. “I never won. This is my Vietnam. I be sitting at the dock of the bay into Kingdom Kong…Maybe the truth is illusive. It’s useless. Delirium.” Kevon utters the last word and it fades into the infinite. I am both reluctant and curious. Reluctant because mental anguish is nothing new for anyone. Millions of Americans struggle through it daily. Curious because it might not mean something to you or me, but it means a hell of a lot to Kevin.

I wonder after this first track if the feeling of the album is more Kid Cudi than anything, except maybe less intense in emotional rapture and more sitting on a porch drinking a 40 while I tease your tear ducts. I am suddenly surprised when “Be Cool” comes on. The track has a touch of Jamiroquai, a touch of Blaxxploitation 70s music, and a touch of early 2000s Cadillac bump beat. I appreciate the collage of sound this track offers. The message in “User” is also appreciated. Love is the greatest sobering experiment of them all, and also the meanest, the most deceptive. The woman is the antagonist of this plot. She can’t seem to get her act together. She misses something that was once there, realizing how dependent she once was on that feeling. She replaces it with another feeling, but the void remains untouched. How far will one tolerate the torment? How far will you jeopardize your self ethics for an outside ideal, a pleasure, a fantasy, a material representation, concrete or permeable? The man of the track moves on. The little boy of the track mourns in sadness. And it’s okay to mourn. Ask anyone who’s lived through addiction. Sometimes we become addicted to the sadness. This track brings me to a memory where I am listening to Bill Wither’s “Use Me.” How could someone put up with so much for something so little? Because again, it ain’t that deep. We all need something. Sometimes that something is drugs, sometimes it’s sex, sometimes it’s peace of mind. Weigh your options.

Now at this point the album takes a bit of a turn. “Jump Out of Window” can be taken in literal context because…well, you’ll just have to listen to it. The electropop dance track feels fluffier than the rest of the album and oddly misplaced, as if Kevon inserted it in there last minute to cover all his bases. Don’t really think it’s a good idea to advise your girl to commit suicide with you, just saying.  Despite  drug and alcohol influence, it sounds a little flakey and disingenuous. Is this like a Romeo and Juliet sitch where you’d die for your lady or… a dark satirical commentary on the results of the 2016 election? Because right about now, falling off a building sounds like the best option. Sorry to smack it down like that. I know love is a theme, but I’m writing this track off as a smiling kid in a cereal commercial from the 80s cardboard rendition of a love song.  It felt disingenuous. I was also disappointed that “Let It Go,” didn’t include the name of the featured singer. I would’ve liked to have known who was singing. She’s got an angelic voice that was both calming and seductive. In spite of expressed opinion, the album does have a sound and style. I think Delirium will either hit a nerve or hit a high note with listeners.