Daniel Caesar explores mental health, love in new single


Photo courtesy of Daniel Caesar Website

Ashton Simmonds, also known as Daniel Caesar, releases his newest single “Please Do Not Lean,” on April 22. Caesar brings attention to the relationship between love and mental health.

By Allyson Lin, Staff Writer

Ashton Simmonds, known professionally as Daniel Caesar, has made a stunning return to the music scene with the release of his first single in almost three years, “Please Do Not Lean.”

Fans praise Caesar for his ethereal sound and nostalgic powerhouse songs. His lyrics resonate with his audiences as they explore love, heartbreak, loss and essentially every other heart-wrenching situation one can be in. 

Caesar has been hard at work on his new sound. In an interview with Complex Canada earlier in the year, he said, “I hate stagnation — I don’t believe in it. While comparison is the thief of joy, I find myself unable to not compare myself, most importantly to my past self, but then also to my peers, idols, everybody. Growth and change is what I’m all about.”

“Please Do Not Lean” was released on April 22, a week after its’ premiere during his set at Coachella. 

The lyric video was released on Friday, and it features a film effect with the words moving over a background shifting into tones of a deep red. 

The single features Canadian jazz band BADBADNOTGOOD. Its’ soft, eloquent instrumentals and Caesar’s expressive voice make for a soulful collaboration.

The track addresses the fragile relationship between love and mental health. It begins with Caesar addressing the insecurity of his partner staying with him despite the hardships that mental health often brings into relationships. 

He stresses his feeling of insecurity and inferiority to other men who would be less difficult to love. He sings, “It’d break my heart but I’d understand / If you’d leave me for another man / With a little less on his mind, less on his plate / Less in his brain.”

Caesar addresses a concern that many struggling with mental illness have when in a relationship: the feeling of being a burden or not good enough for the other person.

He uses repetition to emphasize the feeling that he is unable to be strong enough for both of them. The chorus, “Please do not lean on me, I’m unstable / You’re all you need, I’ve seen it, you’re able,” fuels the story of Caesar’s painful journey. 

Caesar then turns to the physical aspects of their relationship. 

“Sex in the air, deep in despair / Could you please act like you’re unaware? / But we both know I’m just a dog / Chasin’ his bone,” he sings. “Please understand, I’m just a man / That’s nearly figured out his master plan / Just stick around and you gon’ see / I’m worth every pound.”

These few lines represent a relationship that has been through hard times, but remains strong because of their love for another. 

In his line, “I know that you gon’ always love me / In spite of things you’ve seen / In spite of things you’ve heard me say / No matter how obscene,” Caesar acknowledges how his past behavior put a strain on their relationship. 

In the line, “If I am the sky / You are the sea / Starin’ back at me,” his angelic vocals emphasize that he and his partner are intertwined. 

“‘Please Do Not Lean’ represents a deeper understanding of myself and acknowledging the responsibilities I currently hold, respecting them and knowing my limits of when I can take on more,” Caesar explained in a press release. “This is an introduction to the sound and tone of the next chapter in my career.”

On collaborations for his upcoming project, Caesar said to Complex Canada, “It’s mostly me. I’m not much of a ‘go outside and be social’ type of person, and that was before the quarantine. So working on the album post-quarantine, you’re not really interacting with anybody else.”

“Please Do Not Lean” hints at the release of a third album and Caesar’s first under his new deal with Republic Records. 


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