The beep was just after midnight Friday, announcing the arrival of the long anticipated album by Adekunle GOLD. Fifty-four minutes after running through the 16-course meal, two questions stand out from the many that come to mind.
Firstly, who is the Delilah that needs to be kicked out?
Now over thirty, Mr GOLD has entered the distinct and not-a-usually-clear phase of life, one that comes with revisions, resolutions and new commandments on restraint. Call it restructuring and you would not be off because the artiste has not held back on his politics, stating recently in a tweet about the tragedy of low expectations and why it has become time to dispense with them. Experimentation is the pleasure of youth but as man grows, getting the balance between enjoying the good life and playing safe cannot but play on the mind.
For more relaxing Saturdays, Adekunle had Flavour bring in the inevitable oringo smacks on “Yoyo” and while not the perfect rival to Simisola’s Owambe (yea, expect comparisons), it will be a good accompaniment to ensure bottles tick over orders of pepper soup. Simi, distinct in backup but not noted as featured, was on the rendition of “Pablo Alakori” which is GOLD, with “wayo no be the answer… no shortcut”, lending his voice to the unfortunate glorification of advanced fee fraud a few weeks ago on Naija Twitter.
All tunes on About 30 are not on same level of inspiration, not because they were without the value of messaging which the artiste is particular about, but pieces like “Remember” seemed done in a rush, with a just-there ordinariness in its flow judging by GOLD’s standard.
And why would mama’s house no longer feel like home?
Forgetting origins is every breakout star’s big fear. The dread that it could happen while basking in “Fame” following success at the first shoot of a shot is the bracelet self-conscious artistes wear to keep themselves grounded. Thirty is probably the final age at which a young man must finally leave his parents’ to make something of life, regardless of whether they have arrived or not. Adekunle moved out much earlier, has (in Nigeria-speak) seen “Money”, now goes as far as Paris and London for holidays and breathtaking shots in the snow, and thrills his fans with his own ‘One Night Stand’. Artiste or not though, nobody wants such experiences estranging them from humble beginnings, which makes a full dedication to “Mama” and a thanksgiving proclamation that “There is God” due as reminders of all it has taken to get here.
Verdict: About 30 is, after a first listen, rich, with a good feel but not a stunner. Seun Kuti’s presence on the quality track “Mr Foolish” does not affect “Ire” comfortably being the flagship piece per quality and production. Maybe two or three others evoke the kind of desire to immediately re-listen like in the 2016 body of work whose hits are still fresh in memory. That’s not to say anything major has broken in the GOLDen oeuvre but to dazzle on the level of enchantment conjured on the Nigerian music public two years back, a good bit of “Back to start” by the artiste may be in order.
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