A passionate display of emotion
For Those I Love is the stage name of Dublin’s David Balfe, who recently released an album by the same name. For Those I Love is an enthusiastic project that covers intense topics such as love, loss and politics. The album utilizes a wide array of musical instruments and elements which are blended together with Balfe’s distinctive voice for a very distinct sound.
“I Have a Love” is the perfect opener for this album. It clearly sets the tone for the rest of the album and covers all the greater themes, specifically love. It opens with a beautiful and haunting piano melody, which is quickly joined by vocals. The opening line “I have a love/ and it never fades” is so powerful and is followed by detailed accounts of his hometown and his childhood spent there. Throughout the song, the line “I have a love” is repeated, reminding the listener that even through the many trials and tribulations of life, love triumphs over all.
“You Stayed / To Live” is a great demonstration of Balfe’s lyric writing ability. With an electronic backing track, he details the story of childhood shenanigans like lighting a couch on fire. He continues to reference the blazing couch throughout the track, while relating to the loss of his loved one. “Nothing is real, and you’re not here” and “why do I think to stand again with you in front of an inferno” are two particularly striking lyrics that connect the listener to those devastating feelings of loss.
“Top Scheme” is pure anger. Its lines like “I don’t want this world/ where our troubles and complaints are justified/ its just numbers and stats till it’s your life” pack quite a punch. The song continues on to commentary on politics and society. “I don’t want the sight/ of the saints that hate unjust with pride” and “how can we not feel rage/ when therapy costs more than half your wage” hit the nail right on the head of so much that is wrong with the world today. Balfe leaves the listener with one final line: “the world is fucked.” It’s truly a mic drop moment.
“Birthday / The Pain” is another reflection on Balfe’s childhood, but this one is much more jarring. ”Body dumped on my road when I was six, stabbed to death and left on bricks” is just the opening line. He contrasts universal experiences, such as show-and-tell at school, to this traumatic experience. “Stand in front of the class as they ask/ you tell them you looked at the blood left on the road” is a heartbreaking depiction of childhood innocence lost. While this experience may not be relatable to most, how it shaped him is. “I started to run from love” and “you need to grow cold to grow old” are lessons it seems most tend to learn as they get older.
Just as ”I Have a Love” was the perfect opener, so too is “Leave Me Not Love” as the closer. It starts off the same way the first track did, with the same piano melody and the line “I have a love/ and it never fades.” Whereas “I Have a Love” was intense with a glimmer of optimism, “Love Me Not Love” is intense with feelings of despair and hopelessness. “Afraid I’ll lose the memory of your face” and “one song playlist loads up straight away/ and sunk me right back to the source of our teenage pain” are just a few of the lyrics depicting the heartache of loss. The song ends with the lines “What happened to my best mate/ I have a love/ and it’s full of pain,” a shattering line that wraps up this project in the most powerful way possible.
With such a powerhouse of an album right off the bat, For Those I Love has clearly made a name for himself. The songs on For Those I Love are truthful, vivid and oftentimes devastating. The impactful lyrics meshed with his signature electronica sound make this a truly distinct piece of work, and makes For Those I Love an artist to watch out for in the years to come.