Fireboy DML - APOLLO Music Album Reviews

The rising Nigerian singer is on the vanguard of the hybrid “Afro-life” sound and his latest album is the peak of his vision so far, a melodious, detailed, and effortless album of feel-good pop and R&B.

Apollo, one of the most complex characters of Greek mythology, is recognized as the Olympian god of light, truth, prophecy, poetry, healing, and music. His motives are anchored by three emotions: pride, lust, and loss. So is Fireboy DML. But on his second album, APOLLO, the Nigerian singer-songwriter vows to aim high, without going full Icarus. “How human am I to think myself a god?” Fireboy says on the project’s preamble. The music itself begins with his bold declaration: “I be king.”
In this moment of popular Nigerian music awash with divergent styles—from more traditional music like highlife, to reggae, hip-hop, to the more modern Afro-fusion, alté, and the mainstream Afrobeats—Fireboy doesn’t put himself into one category; he rests at the intersection of R&B, pop, Afrobeats, and alté. It’s the self-described “Afro-life” sound from his 2018 breakout song “Jealous”; ambient, relatable, everyday-life music. APOLLO comes on the heels of Burna Boy’s Twice as Tall, in which Burna reasserts his status as the premier African giant standing firmly atop the scene, both in the states and overseas. While the Afro-fusion star leads social and political-leaning conversations bridging the Black diaspora with his music, Fireboy isn’t as much a part of that exchange. Instead, he’s situated in a separate class of artists, not making overt statements with his music and not dominating the mainstream either, but pushing the new vanguard of Afropop.

In a lineup of current Afropop singers, Fireboy stands alongside the fluid, trap-leaning rapper-singer Rema, the young crooner Joeboy of Mr Eazi’s Empawa Africa label, and rising star Oxlade. Fireboy adds to the pantheon of loverboy languish, singing mostly about unrequited affection, delightful and depressing dalliances, and love that wanes just like summer heat on August nights. APOLLO takes the load off the heaviness of now. Fireboy excels at extracting the allure in the mundane, with his sincere and sober musings on life and himself.

The album features familiar and fresh production from previous collaborators Pheelz, Type A, iamBeatz, and P.Prime, as well as a feature verse from Nigerian hip-hop heavyweight and APOLLO executive producer Olamide, who has a knack for discovering and developing new talent. Fireboy’s tried-and-true formula blends the old and the new, like when Afropop veteran and reliable hitmaker Wande Coal shows up on APOLLO. Fireboy is a disciple of Coal in ingenuity and style, and his vocals complement his predecessor’s signature falsetto on “Spell” as he leans into Coal’s mastery of melody for a pleasant cross-generational connection.

Like any young artist culling from creative movements on the ground and across the internet, Fireboy plucks from a cornucopia of influences. With Afro-life, he tinctures his chameleonic R&B with subtle hints of pop, Afrobeats, and dance music, producing a cocktail of R&B whether he intends to or not. “Tattoo” is his most sensual song to date, reminiscent of the sweet soulfulness of Miguel’s 2010 debut, All I Want Is You. The bright horns and slick production on “Favourite Song” aim for the groove of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones’ bubbly boogie music.

There is minimal range in his simplified style of songwriting. “God Only Knows” is guided by chants and a few trite one-liners, but the celestial, grandiose production thankfully overshadows its shortcomings. Olamide makes an appearance with his mentee on “Afar,” a solid and smooth track anchored by the hook, “Make them dey love me from afar.” What sounds rudimentary on first listen soon becomes catchy melodies that linger on the lips. Fireboy’s lyrics are so uncomplicated that they become unforgettable.

“I’m not tryna be the number one,” Fireboy sings on “Airplane Mode.” “So many legends dey, I’m just tryna be another one.” The declarations of defiance throughout the project are more charming than thundering. He isn’t so much the flash of lightning as a soft power, the quiet after the storm. At times, the album’s sentimentality may sound overwrought, but at its core, APOLLO is easy, exciting, and earnest. It’s what feel-good music sounds like as it becomes increasingly difficult to feel good; it’s soothing in a palliative way. APOLLO is not grand or abstract enough to qualify as escapism. Instead, Fireboy stays grounded, shooting the breeze, limning the simplicities of romance and life.
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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.
Fireboy DML - APOLLO Music Album Reviews Fireboy DML - APOLLO Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, September 02, 2020 Rating:

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