By OMONIYI FAITH
For his debut, Johnny Drille released a 14-track album titled ‘Before We Fall Asleep’ (BWFA).
Since his first release ‘Wait for Me’ about six years ago, the Nigerian alternative artiste has put out a slew of soulful songs and covers, save for an album.
On September 3, the Mavin Records-signed musician released his debut project, one in which he bares out his heart in love, tells tales of his frustration in yearning for affection and also narrates his ordeal of upholding his standards in the face of temptation.
Although love-themed, other topical issues are discussed in the album.
In ‘Lost in the Rhythm’, the artiste tells a tale of a young lad who attempts to thrive in a society that opposes his aspiration.
The artiste explores an expanse of genres in this project. He explores pop, folk, rock, and Afrobeats in this 14-track body of work. In some song verses, EDM elements flourish.
‘My kind of brown’, the opening track teaches self-love. It asks its recipient to come out of their shell and reach for the stars. Johnny Drille sings, ” you’re so much more”.
On ‘Loving is Harder’, the artiste tells the “if you never go, you no go know” tale of love. He sings “loving is harder than they show you, you would never know until you’re bruised and burned.” Sorry, Johnny.
Johnny’s masterful falsetto was on display in this track. The track also sees a flavorful blend of English and Pidgin language.
‘Ludo’, the third track of the album, is a little upbeat. Johnny seeks a girl who wouldn’t dabble with his heart like ludo, a board game that involves tossing dice around a board. “So make I go find my own, girl wey no go play my heart ludo,” he sings.
Legendary Don Jazzy teams up with Johnny Drille on the fourth track. The track sees the artistes pleading for another chance at love after a failed relationship.
‘Odo’ witnesses a collaborative effort between maestro R&B group, Styl-Plus and Johnny Drille. They both sing about a certain “odo” whom they are willing to die for her love. Odo meaning a loved one in Nigerian parlance.
Style Plus voice is still as silky as it is. Preserved. This is my personal favorite.
‘Driving in the rain’ seeks to explain the depth of love Johnny has for his lover and the extent to which he is willing to express his love for her. Fellow label mate Ladipoe delivers some excellent bars on this track.
‘Before I Let Go’ tells a tale of two lovers who are steadily drifting apart. The artiste doesn’t know how much he can hold on to the disjointed affair before he lets go.
Track eight lits up with a pop sound. Super talented Arya Starr gets a feature on this one. Together, they sing about revealing their true self in a romantic relationship, hence the phrase “come in the light”.
‘Lies’ is a contemporary song that every Nigerian can relate to. Johnny Drille poses as an activist on this song.
He explores topical issues in Nigerian politics; promises from the government left unfulfilled, insecurity, and a ton of other irregularities co-existing in the Nigerian space. This track explores a fusion of the rock genre and Afrobeats.
‘Lost in the Rhythm’ feels like a continuation of ‘Lies’. It tells the tale of a young lad who tries to thrive amidst all of the posing odds of society.
In ‘Sweet Mother’, the artiste describes his mum’s love as “sweeter than honey”; love that seeks nothing in return.
Johnny goes traditional in his language on some portion of this heartwarming song and his vocal delivery was never in doubt. A nod to him.
‘Sweet sister’ is a solemn song of hope, urging ‘sister’ (a metaphoric representation of a person who is about to lose hope) to hold on and to let a little light in because “light fixes the broken”.
Lagos Community gospel choir delivers some harmonious background vocals on this track. The artiste passes a strong message of hope to his audience. The lyrics on this song captures that message succinctly.
Johnny Drille caps off the album in style with a song that sees him upholding his high held standards and values in the face of temptation.
Johnny delivered 43 mins of wholesome and topically appealing content on the album. He explores a variety of genres and languages while still delivering masterfully on the vocals. The instrumentation on this album is quite laudable. A good way to start, Johnny.
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