'Barely Alive,' by Ceschi, featuring Sage Francis.


"Barely Alive,'' the first single from Connecticut hip-hop artist and multi-instrumentalist Ceschi's forthcoming album, "Broken Bone Ballads,'' starts with the melancholy strumming of guitar, followed by a brooding, Ceschi contemplative rap. The song, which also features Providence rapper Sage Francis, is remarkably beautiful, meditating on several types of loss with a maturity and thoughtfulness that in no way dampens the sense of brewing anger beneath the song's surface.

The song has Ceschi's persona visiting a grave with his family, and meditating on a loss that's haunted him for a year. Later in the song, Francis comes at the concept of loss from a different angle, rapping about the friends that tried to use him when he achieved some modicum of success.

"We're alive,'' says Ceschi in a rich, haggard voice that transitions from rap to sung vocals, "barely alive, but we're alive.'' It's in that small flicker of life that the song finds its soul. "I'm alright. I'm alright,'' sings Ceschi but don't (expletive) with me tonight.''

It's a bit of a snap, but it's enough for the song to show some teeth. "These fists are clenched,'' he sings, "and I...

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