Popcaan - Great Is He Music Album Reviews

Popcaan - Great Is He Music Album Reviews
Trite where it should be subtle and mellow where it should be exciting, the Jamaican star’s new album fails to consistently capture his magic.

Popcaan’s music is slathered in sweetness. Andrae Sutherland has a gift for shiny, elastic flows, making him a singjay—a reggae or dancehall artist with an ultra-melodic style—in the purest form. His indelible 2014 anthem “Everything Nice” felt like sipping on an icy rum and Red Bull in the Kingston daylight, the sun’s rays a warm balm for the punishing turns of everyday life. But on his fifth studio album, Great Is He, that brightness isn’t pleasant; it’s overpowering. The production often feels languid and homogenous, yielding a plodding, monotonous slurry. Far from the pop thrills and rap escapades of 2020’s FIXTAPE, Great Is He is a too-mellow record bogged down by repetitive beats, familiar themes, and forced sentimentality. 

The few prize moments on Great Is He arrive when Popcaan relies on classic dancehall flourishes or effective collaborations. “Set It” feels like the explosive peak of a bashment megamix from the ’90s, complete with speaker-frying bass punches and sweaty come-ons: “Waistline likkle, mama, you so curvy.” “Aboboyaa,” Popcaan’s second collaboration with Burna Boy, spotlights his knack for seamless collaborations, linking the shared Afro-diasporic musical genealogies of Nigeria, Ghana, and Jamaica. Its title references the Ghanaian term for a tricycle used to transport goods, but Popcaan flips it into a metaphor for a woman riding him in bed. It’s summery and playful, and a chorus of horns trumpets under the Afrobeats production, as if they were blaring out of a car radio on the streets of Accra. “New Benz” and “Freshness” are sybaritic odes to luxury cars and clean Gucci fits, familiar flexes made electric by the percussive echoes of a fever-pitch riddim and the ringing of a steel drum.

Yet it’s easy to forget about these flashes of delight in the face of the record’s trite rags-to-riches tales. There’s nothing wrong with a come-up anthem, but on Great Is He, the execution is too superficial. The opening song, “Defeat the Struggle,” lands as an obligatory motivational intro rather than a genuine victory. “St. Thomas Native,” “Appreciation,” and “Past Life” are so formulaic, you almost wonder if they were designed using a type beat tutorial on YouTube; there are maudlin string crescendos, sappy guitar strums, and heart-tugging piano lines lifted straight out of a trailer for a Hallmark Channel drama. The penultimate track, “Memories,” an ode to Popcaan’s late loved ones, is stained with flimsy lyrics and a hackneyed bridge; “Believe me it’s gonna be, gonna be fine” is a far cry from Popcaan’s typically subtle, grounded approach to questions of radical hope and spirituality. And when Sutherland sings “Life a nuh joke like Kung Fu Panda,” you might involuntarily screw your face up in disappointment.

It’s been nearly a decade since his breakout album Where We Come From established Popcaan as an artist able to swim back and forth between the waters of pop and dancehall, flaunting his sense of narrative and verve within the sunny templates of the Jamaican genre. He’s been a lifeline for Drake when the Canadian rapper has exhausted his own creative energies, first siphoning some of Popcaan’s magic for an unreleased version of “Controlla” and via a sample on “Too Good.” That impact is muted on Great Is He; the collaboration that appears here, “We Caa Done,” feels like the pair is retreading old ground just for nostalgia’s sake. Dancehall is a singles-driven genre, but Popcaan often shines in the album format, so it’s regrettable that many of these 17 songs feel so lackluster. For a genre rooted in joy and conviviality, the letdown is hard to ignore.
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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.
Popcaan - Great Is He Music Album Reviews Popcaan - Great Is He Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 11, 2023 Rating: 5


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