Adekunle Gold - Catch Me If You Can Music Album Reviews

Adekunle Gold - Catch Me If You Can Music Album Reviews
The Nigerian singer has the writing and vocal chops to best most of the leading men of Afropop. But his self-proclaimed transformation feels like a talented artist simply conforming to trends.

Even before he cemented his transformation from urban highlife to Afropop, Adekunle Gold was conscious of how his audience perceived him. With his first two albums, Gold and About 30, the Nigerian singer-songwriter earned recognition in the culturally specific niche of highlife, but it was clear he had grander ambitions. Those deliberate steps toward the mainstream coalesced on 2021’s Afropop Vol. 1, where he completed the makeover. Gone was the specificity of Yoruba highlife—the prominence of the talking drum, the language, those distinct vocal strains, and adire fabric. In its place: a new nickname (AG Baby), digital production, silk shirts, and lyrics sung in English.

With Catch Me If You Can, AG refines the pop formula he introduced last year, closing the chapter on his past self. The result sounds less like a creative transformation than a talented artist simply conforming to trends. In 2016, WizKid made a star turn alongside Drake on “One Dance,” the most-streamed song on Spotify that year. Burna Boy—the first of his generation of Afropop stars to win a Grammy—reached new levels of visibility with his hit single “Pree Me,” and Davido crowned himself the “Coolest Kid in Africa.” In this lineage, AG’s self-proclaimed transformation feels like the comfortable, unimaginative end-point of a well-tread path.

Even when working with familiar templates, AG has the writing and vocal chops to make better music than most of the leading men of Afropop. On the God-praising “Mase Mi,” his voice shines without the help of audible digital tuning. “More Than Enough” pleasantly nods to the highlife of his past in the lilt of its simple melodies, call-and-response vocals, horns, and soft guitar. “Selah” is a tale of toxic love, with almost every aspect of the production muted, and it reaches higher levels of emotional depth than any track here. When everything clicks, these songs feel like welcome additions to the pantheon of Afropop hits.

An overemphasis on efficiency and restraint, however, makes the bulk of this record feel more like a completed to-do list of Afropop trends than a cohesive album. Romance, check. Sex, check. Hustle, check. Amapiano, check. The otherwise enjoyable “One Woman” is a blatant TikTok play: When Ty Dolla $ign breaks mid-song to intone, “Wait… she’s really hot,” you can practically see the before-and-after jump-cut of a TikTok user’s visual transformation from bare face to full makeup.

There are two sides to African popular music that breaks internationally. On one end are artists like Youssou N’Dour, the Kuti sons, and Angélique Kidjo, who capture old-guard music critics and concert halls; on the other are those like WizKid, Davido, and Amaarae, who light up the clubs and social media. The gap between the two often feels unbridgeable, and yet it’s not impossible to cross: Burna Boy triumphed with his last two albums. But few other artists have the range to attract both audiences. What’s frustrating about Catch Me If You Can is this missed opportunity. Rather than bringing himself closer to pop, AG could have brought pop closer to highlife, broadening the scope of the genres and, in effect, transforming them.

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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.
Adekunle Gold - Catch Me If You Can Music Album Reviews Adekunle Gold - Catch Me If You Can Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 16, 2022 Rating: 5


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