NNAMDÏ - BRAT Music Album Reviews

The Chicago singer and multi-instrumentalist leaps fearlessly between voices and sounds. His constant dissatisfaction leaves no question that his true colors are loud and clashing.

The first thing to know about the music of NNAMDÏ is that he has a million vehicles for it. The multi-instrumentalist, singer, and rapper born (and formerly known as) Nnamdi Ogbonnaya jumps at every opportunity. He’s a label head. He’s a gifted instrumental polyglot. He’s stylistically ravenous: two of his many side gigs include drumming in mind-warping time signatures for an instrumental math-rock band and playing bass and singing backup in another known for plainspoken poignancy and extremely simple parts. His holistic hustle has earned him widespread admiration among DIY peers in Chicago; when Melkbelly got a call to open for Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field, their singer wore a NNAMDÏ T-shirt.

The second thing to know about the music of NNAMDÏ is that he sings with the patternless precision of a Whac-A-Mole champion. He bounds deliriously between voices and phrasing styles, up and down his vocal register, as if alter egos are fighting over the controls. It’s a universal accelerant: It conveys both a sort of invincibility when he sounds ecstatic and of unraveling when he sounds tortured. On BRAT, the latest of several albums released under variations of his own name, his internal deliberations grapple over ego, selfishness, and the gift or indulgence of a life devoted to art. “I’m a big brat/I can’t pick a side,” he sings, with an audible grin.

Hearing all of this materialize into NNAMDÏ’s most ambitious album is exciting, but not always fun. The moments when he sounds invincible give way to equally intense self-doubts, and his songs overflow with confessional lyrics. “Bullseye” lands the album’s first instant hook, a short blast of Vitamin D that exists on an astral plane inhabited by Tierra Whack and maybe no one else. But as quickly as it hits, it withdraws on “Everyone I Loved,” where NNAMDÏ laments drifting apart from his family, who are “all having trouble understanding why I chose this route.” (The son of Nigerian immigrants, including a double PhD holder, NNAMDÏ earned a degree in electrical engineering and has discussed in interviews how his restless ambition is connected to his upbringing.) “Everything I loved now turns me off,” he sings in an Earth, Wind & Fire falsetto, up until that last word, which he drops with a spiritless thud.

BRAT opens acoustically, closes thunderously, and along the way squirms across ground-scraping beats, twinkling guitars, and most sounds in between. It’s sure to divide listeners who tend towards maximalism from those who don’t, and it certainly provokes questions about what gets lost in genre fusion. But NNAMDÏ’s constant dissatisfaction with any one sound leaves no question that his true colors are loud and clashing, and he’s not afraid to admit to uncertainty. This is what’s powerful about the final two tracks of BRAT, where a longer arc starts to take form. On “It’s OK” and “Salut,” he stands still, straightens his spine, and lets out an overdue exhale. “There’s no need to pretend you’re OK if you’re not,” he concludes, finally sounding satisfied.

NNAMDÏ is a clear natural talent, and also a malfunctioning fountain of ideas spraying in every direction. In saying a million things, BRAT doesn’t quite say any one bold thing. Most of NNAMDÏ’s recorded work has sounded like this—occasionally overwhelming and alienating—but sooner or later, he’s likely to focus all of these ideas into a tighter-tuned vision and construct a masterpiece. The singular voice, the personal rawness, and the sheer skill for craft are all there on BRAT, ready to snap together.


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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
NNAMDÏ - BRAT Music Album Reviews NNAMDÏ - BRAT Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, April 16, 2020 Rating: 5

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