Van Hunt had the misfortune of entering the market at a time when there wasn’t really a lane for a genre-unclassifiable Black artist. In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, either you were a megastar that defied categorization, an R&B thug, a vocal group or a Soulquarian. Van was none of those things, and as such, has never gotten his due as a true maverick.
“Daredevil, Baby” comes from Van’s second album, 2006’s excellent On The Jungle Floor. How good was On The Jungle Floor? After buying it (at Circuit City, R.I.P.) and falling in love with it, I went backwards to Van’s self-titled debut (which I’d listened to and not been incredibly impressed) and then fell in love with that album. More on that later in the “D”s.
“Daredevil” has two sort of movements. It begins as a piano ballad. The lyrics draw a comparison between being emotionally honest with a partner to being a daredevil. A heartbeat of a percussion track reveals itself as the track progresses before evolving into full-on drums and a bit of a piano freak-out Jon Brion/Fiona Apple style.
In addition to having a great lyric and some kick-ass piano playing, I love “Daredevil Baby”’s vocal production. Sounds like Van is singing directly in your ear. Very intimate.