Back to the roots: Casper’s album “only love, always.”
It’s going home. Casper’s new album takes a look back at childhood, youth, old friendships and everything around it. Musically it also goes back to the beginning.
The boy and the dog are sitting on the sofa. If you look at the photo more closely, you will see that the boy in the jeans two-piece must be Benjamin Griffey, who now identifies himself as Rapper Casper has made a name for himself. The picture adorns the cover of the new Casper album “only love, always.”. “How the photo became the album cover is actually a relatively emotional story,” says Casper in the dpa interview in Berlin.
Born to a German mother and an American father, Benjamin Griffey grew up in the USA. After his parents separated, he moved to Germany with his mother. However, every summer he spent several weeks visiting his father and his new partner in the US state of Georgia. “I can still remember the house very clearly, Sammy, our dog, and the whole time,” says Casper. The photo was taken during Casper’s first visit in the summer of 1993, but only came into his hands much later.
After almost 20 years of no contact, his stepmother at the time wrote him an email saying she wanted to send him old photos by post. When Casper saw a picture, he immediately thought it would make a good album cover.
From nostalgic to bittersweet
Also many other things on “only love, always.” work quite intuitively. Casper actually wanted to make an album without a concept, he says. “I imagined the whole thing more like a song collection or showcase where people could just look at what I’ve been doing over the last few months,” he says. “But now that I listen to the album again in hindsight, I realize that maybe it accidentally became somewhat conceptual.”
Many of the songs are about looking back, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes sad, sometimes bittersweet. This can be a look back at childhood in the trailer park, as in “real from below / zoé freestyle”. Or the memory of a youth between Fanta-Korn and fights in the hinterland as in “wrong time, wrong place”. Growing distance and lost friendships are also discussed, as well as the struggle with one’s own demons and old encounters that no longer let go.
The look back can also be felt musically. “only love, always.” dispenses with the gut-wrenching bass and harshness of its predecessors “EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HAD HURT” and “Long Live Death”. Instead, the album has its own flow, which, like the breakthrough album “XOXO”, mixes hip-hop with pop elements and Casper’s characteristic raspy voice. “I don’t think there’s a lack of anger, I just think there’s more love,” comments Casper.
“only love, always.” is not only a title, but also a kind of way of life for Casper. He ends each of his posts on Instagram with these words. He says: “I think that in a world in which there are so many bad events, so much anger and cynicism, the greatest provocation is to say that you want to remain unconditionally open and loving. You can’t really get any more punk right now.”