BY EMMANUEL DARALOYE
390 days ago, Fireboy formally informed his fans he was working on his third album.
‘Peru’, his international breakthrough, comes with the liners: “I’m not playing with you, I’m not joking. My third album is loading.”
While the album loads, a few significant steps ensue.
He became bigger, shared the stage with Ed Sheeran at the iconic Wembley Stadium, got into the studio with pop idol Madonna.
His ‘Peru’ original and remixes raked in a combined 226 million streams on Spotify.
Born in Abeokuta (southern Nigeria), Fireboy nurtured his talent while schooling at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile Ife.
By the time he relocated to Lagos in 2017, he was already hungry for stardom.
Rather than jump through the back door when the opportunity came like Lil Wayne, Fireboy embraced it.
And right now, he straddles the global space, frolics with global stars, and performs on the big stage.
Truly, Fireboy is “scattering” the party.
Three singles previewed this album.
‘Peru’, a freestyle, is built on a melange of topics with sex and women’s clothing in the song. ‘Playboy,’ is all shades of self-praise while the twangy strings, synth-pivoted ‘Bandana,’ is a tell-it biographical ride.
People write but not only a small fraction can be poetic with words, Fireboy falls into the latter.
He sprinkled his songs with witty lines, and metaphors, and embraces hedonism when he wants while he sometimes craves love or he despatches a supercilious letter to an ex as he did on twenty-four.
Fireboy’s high-spirited vibe oozes on this album, he says whatever he likes (Ashawo), co-opts his African brothers to win over a girl (Diana), and parties when the paycheck is right.
Some of the songs sound freestyle while others seem like different cuts from existential issues. ‘Adore,’ is celebratory. ‘Sofri,’ is built on lovemaking with the guitar strings adding sauce to the track.
‘Timoti,’ revolves around lewdness. Fela Kuti-esque Afrobeat production gets appropriated on the anthemic ‘Afrohighlife’.
Finally, Fireboy formalizes his sub-genre.
This is one of the infectious songs on this album, the production, Fela’s queen-like background support, is enthralling. Fireboy ditched his trademark legacy-centered album closers for a triumphal tune on ‘Glory’.
Lyrically, this is his least pristine album. He struggles on some tracks, and repeats lines, not for emphasis. It is all shades of an artiste who is stuck or didn’t finesse an idea before recording.
‘Playboy’ finds Fireboy at his most cheerful state.
You would be disappointed if you are looking for elevated use of language in the lyrical composition on this album.
He’s all out for a jolly ride.
Emmanuel Daraloye is a prolific music critic, with over 450 album reviews in his archive.
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