First impressions matter, but they don’t always tell the full story. There’s the possibility that judging someone or something based on first contact might be wrong. Other times, further examination reinforces the initial verdict. Either way, looking beyond first impressions doesn’t hurt at all.
First listen reviews are knee jerk reactions to instant information from the music. I have good – nay, great ears, and I’d like to think I’ve fairly done well with the First listen reviews experiment. But like I wrote earlier, it doesn’t hurt to look beyond the initial verdict.
If you didn’t get the memo, Wizkid released his third studio project, Sounds From The Other Side last Friday. Most of my initial thoughts on the album haven’t changed, so why hit you in the head with the same gist using different words? Following up a first listen review with another review seems appropriate. But instead of just throwing out some long form 800word piece, how about getting other people to weigh in.
We reached out to a couple of guys to weigh in their thoughts on the quality of Sounds and other related matters. This isn’t a roundtable discussion per se, it’s a couple of guys sharing our opinions Q&A style.
Bolaji is a programming guru, TGW techie and a music enthusiast. Dennis is TGW’s music guy and a really gentle guy (I’ll toot my own horn). Yomi appreciates and talks up great music (half his tweets are about music), Mifa is a writer and entrepreneur ( I hate when he opposes me, he often has good points), Honour is a writer for The Music Axle and a promoter of good music and music related events.
Somewhere in our somewhat differing opinions, you should find the truth as to the quality of Wizkid’s Sounds From The Other Side.
YOUR SUMMARY OF SFTOS IN THE LENGTH OF A TWEET
Yomi: I think it’s a really solid project, exudes freedom, confidence, still quintessential Wizkid, but with Incredible productions.
Mifa: A feel good music album that is less ambitious than the name implies.
Honour: The project sounded like Wizkid wants all the perks of releasing an album while ducking any criticism of his album’s quality by saying it was ‘just a mixtape’.
Dennis: I wish ‘Naughty Ride’ and ‘Sexy’ were released when I was in year 2/3 of uni, I miss parties.
Bolaji: I feel wizkid is losing his touch, probably he hasn’t found the perfect fusion with foreign sounds yet. Most of the songs were below par to me.
WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR ‘BUT’ ON SFTOS?
Honour: I like the productions but his lyricism was sub par.
Dennis: As with most Nigerian artists, there’s no personal truth on display on any of the tracks. He has few of those and he usually excels on them (‘Ojuelegba‘, his verse on Runtown’s ‘Lagos To Kampala‘), wonder why there’s none of that on Sounds.
Mifa: The entire album sounds like it was recorded on the same day. The similarities of each track makes it less like a journey to the other side and more like an extensive recording session that got the thumbs up from groupies in the studio.
Yomi: I personally feel an over-reliance on foreign acts (largely for sale/promo purposes, duh!) is a little off for me.
YOUR FAVORITE SONG ON SFTOS
Yomi: I like the whole project, plenty of the songs really had me at first listen. ‘Sexy‘ is just rank, sheer madness, sincerely, produced by a Nigerian, even adds to the thrill for me.
Bolaji: Probably ‘Picture Perfect‘ or ‘Sexy‘, can’t say for sure.
Dennis: Obvious answer should be ‘Sexy’, it’s my ringtone now, probably won’t be picking many calls at first ring for a while. But ‘One For Me‘ is growing on me. That TY Dolla $ign hook is good.
Mifa: ‘African Bad Gyal’ was the only song that sounded somewhat ambitious. I was impressed with Breezy’s verse. Wizkid was just wizkid; nothing new.
Honour: ‘Picture Perfect‘, weather for two jam.
YOUR LEAST FAVORITE SONG ON SFTOS
Dennis: ‘Dirty Whine‘ sounds like the equivalent of badly cooked jollof rice.
Yomi: I have none.
Honour: Easy, ‘Daddy Yo’.
Mifa: Too many to pick one but I have to say, I have always disliked the ‘Daddy Yo‘ track – utterly meaningless.
WHAT’S YOUR OPINION OF WIZKID’S RECENT CARIBBEAN LEAN?
Honour: I like that wizkid is branching out, his ability to blend in like a chameleon and still retain his signature sound is impressive.
Mifa: It would have been great if he had actual tried collaborating with more Caribbean styled artiste. But I guess in his desire to want to be termed “International” he decided to please the American audience. Sadly, I don’t see the average American bumping to these tracks.
Dennis: It’s not intriguing, it’s not horrible. Depends on how good the production is for me, Wizkid does quite okay with melodies in any form.
Yomi: Not so shabby, still needs plenty work on execution. He is deeply confident, he’ll be fine.
EARLY WIZKID & PRESENT WIZKID, WHAT’S THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE AND IS IT GOOD OR BAD?
Yomi: I don’t necessarily critique based on past and present work, it’s illogical, selfish, a little disingenuous to expect artists to replicate old energies on new projects. I like Sounds, a lot.
Bolaji: He’s improved in a good way but he needs to master fusion.
Mifa: Pride. I hear people commend him for not losing his roots although he has supposedly gone international, but that’s exactly what this body of work proves. I believe when he wasn’t so keen on proving that he was now dinning with greatness in his former works, he actually told a narrative that we could all relate to. 70% of his fan base is from “this side”; so how the hell are we supposed to relate to the “other side”. He tried to bring some of that in the track ‘Sexy‘ but let’s be honest…Fela should be left alone to hold the crown post mortem.
Honour: Wizkid of 2010 had the lyrics while Wizkid of now has the charisma. Still he is getting better, we still haven’t seen him peak.
WORST LINE ON SFTOS
Bolaji: Can’t remember. I was too irritated by the unfused sounds.
Dennis: I’ll let you know when I decide to pay full attention to the lyrics, those beats mask everything.
Mifa: Wizkid and lyrics is like a Eunuch and sex.
Honour: Probably from ‘Daddy Yo‘.
BEST FEATURE ON SFTOS
Mifa: Chris Brown. I was impressed he got the pidgin accent right in his first line of the song.
Honour: TY dolla $ign. His adlibs are really good.
Dennis: Bucie. She low key washed Wizkid on their collab which is fine, considering the production is her terrain.
Bolaji: None to me.
Yomi: Yes, Bucie. I want to say TY Dolla $ign, but that’s somehow not fair to Bucie. The House vibe was home for her vocals. I agree with Dennis.
WIZKID’S DECISION TO NOT FEATURE ANY NIGERIAN ARTIST, GOOD OR BAD?
Dennis: A little indifferent about this, although I could’ve gone with someone other than Trey Songz on ‘Gbese’. He put the right producers on anyways, that makes up for the Naija rep.
Honour: I feel indifferent about it, the foreign guests delivered right?
Yomi: He is essentially selling to the foreign market. Not that putting a Nigerian would’ve hurt anyway though, but it’s his project at the end of the day.
Bolaji: A little indifferent about this.
WHICH NIGERIAN ARTIST DO YOU THINK HAS THE CAPACITY TO TURN HEADS ON THIS TYPE OF STAGE IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Yomi: I think those guys from Abuja are on some really amazing stuff. Maybe Tay [Iwar], his art is so good.
Mifa: I would name someone if I actually felt like this turned my head.
Honour: Davido’s already turning heads. I’m low key rooting for Kah-Lo and other artists on the rise.
Dennis: Mr Eazi. He makes the best bumbum songs, the world needs more of our bumbum songs.