Heartbreak is something that is universal but comes in a number of forms. Daniel Blake is taking all these forms and telling their stories through his EP Jakarta. From failed relationships to wanting to leave everything behind for the one you love, the EP captures five very different stories in cinematic glory.
While music has been on his mind since he was introduced to his parent’s favourite artists, he only started playing live in his early 30s. After a final push in a musical direction, Blake released his debut EP in 2018 and has been going strong ever since. His version of ‘Here with Me’ by Dido was featured on the season finale of Roswell New Mexico and tracks from this EP have also been featured on TV and indie short films.
The EP opens with ‘Heartbreaker’ which is a tribute to the late Tom Petty. Using a melody that draws you in with an expansive tone, he carefully leads you to his vocals. There is a wonderful delicacy to his performance that makes you think of gently lapping waves. This is a truly touching tribute to Petty’s legacy while bringing something that is essentially Blake. The swells of strings complement the guitar for a rich softness that is utterly beautiful. You really can’t get enough of this song and it is a wonderful opening to the EP.
‘Going Home’ has a more grounded feeling to the melody. There is a great folk vibe to the vocals as they touch on the people who make you who you are. The piano lines weave through your senses making you think of the road leading home after you have been away for a while. As he dips into the experiences that make you who you are, he touches on the heartbreaking events that define you. This is tempered by the comfort and ease of coming home.
The title track ‘Jakarta’ has an interesting almost shuffle to the music that is lightly washed with gentle waves of humming vocals. The delicacy of the past tracks continue with this song, but there is something more melancholy resting in the vocals. There is a sense of inevitability to this song as you accept the sinking of a relationship. This is put to a rather haunting melody that thickens the melancholy and heartbreak of a failed relationship. The guitar that comes through later in the song, bolsters this acceptance and resignation to what is happening.
‘Where’d You Go’ pulls you into the lyrics with Blake’s vocals from the first second. There is a real country-folk vibe to this song that is packed with sadness and heartbreak. As the lyrics tell the story of a failed relationship, you are treated to the tale from two perspectives. This has been wonderfully done as the two perspectives mirror each other while bringing a different emotional hit. The lightness of the melody gives the song a late-night feeling that enhances the story of the lyrics and the gentle flow of the vocals.
The EP comes to a close with ‘Freeway’ which brings an almost freeing energy to your ears. While this might seem at odds with the rest of the EP, there is a sense of sadness woven into Blake’s performance. The lyrics are wonderfully descriptive as they paint the scene of a small town and a young couple who want to get away from there. Through the sad yet hopeful story of the lyrics, you are filled with an interesting contrast of emotions. The chorus has this hopeful vibe as the couple finds freedom on the freeway only to be brought down by the current reality.
Daniel Blake has you riding waves of heartbreak while bringing flashing moments of happiness in Jakarta. The easy flow of the tracks allows the melancholy woven into the detailed stories to settle in your chest. While each song brings a different form of heartbreak, they are equally beautiful and make you long to listen to the EP on repeat.