By the Angry Mob.
I grabbed a copy as quickly as I came across one. Anyone who has been paying attention to my idle rants must know that I have mad love and respect for Tiwa Savage. However, I became, not uncommonly, apprehensive after I discovered the album had a whopping 21 tracks!!! Nonetheless, as I slotted it into the player, I was fairly certain it would be a journey worth the 150 naira fare at least. So was it worth it? I’ll let you be the judge of that for yourself. Meanwhile, here are the songs that stood out for me; they are also the ones that are closer to fitting into the “Once Upon A Time” album title.
Track 2. Wanted (Tiffany Fred & Warren “OAK” Felder).
After the unnecessary Track1, it was refreshing to ease into this song. The sample (Welcome To Jamrock) is a killer. Tiwa skillfully drags us into the world of a fugitive and back with her meticulously laid vocals. This song propped up my hopes and helped me win Tiwa some new converts. I love this jam, but the song that comes after, ileke, is a spoiler.
Track 5. Olorun Mi (Sauce Wilson).
This is indeed an emotion-laden song that almost moved me to tears. Tiwa just has the apt words to create whatever feel she so desires, or so it appears. This song is for the ones we have lost; it just makes you start to miss someone. I could listen to the bass line of this song as a separate track all day. I LOVE IT!!! Shout out to Sauce Wilson.
Track 8. Love Me, Love Me, Love Me (Richard King & Harmony Samuels)
This was a brilliant follow up to Kele Kele Love. This song sealed Tiwa’s place in the business. I fell in love with it from the first listen. I mean, with the brilliant production and Tiwa’s perfect delivery, I couldn’t be more convinced that the girl had it. The most interesting thing about this song for me is the songwriting. It’s amazing how Tiwa is able to tell her story and paint a beautiful portrait in our head with remarkably simple rhymes. Her professional touch on this song is undeniable. Lovely!
Track 12. Shout Out Ft Iceberg Slim & Sarkodie (Spellz)
Is it my ears or this beat actually sounds like a byproduct of Banky’s Good Good Loving? Well, this is a nice and easy song, laidback party joint cooked up by Spellz (aha! He made the Banky song too). This is something in the mold of Beyonce’s PARTY ft J.cole. Iceberg slim came through with the right type of flow for this song but I couldn’t help wondering: so this is the same guy that wanted to battle M.I? *insert sigh here*. Honestly, I don’t get what Sarkodie was doing or saying on this track. Tiwa was lovely and I just wish Pepsi would make a bright and happy video for this song. It’s refreshing!
Track 13. Written All Over Your Face (Tiffany Fred $ Warren “OAK” Felder)
This is an excellent production and a masterfully executed sexual and sensual song. The song writing and arrangement of this song is flawless, and Tiwa is much at ease working it. In fact, ladies and gentlemen, this is officially my best track off this album because of the many things I could do with this song. First, I want to watch Tiwa perform this song with a mic stand, rocking a black dress, and standing on an unassuming stage with a dark-bluish background at The Staples Centre. Sheer bliss! Also, I want to have lil wayne on the remix of this song, preferably at the start, make a superlative video, upload strategically on Youtube and take over the world. And talking about Youtube, I expect to see a lot of covers for this song; ladies you better take advantage.
Track 14. Get Low (Sauce Wilson)
You see, I don’t know if Tiwa Savage is a better “singer” than the other girls but I sure know she is the more PROFESSIONAL RECORDING female artiste of the bunch. Can you hear Tiwa’s back ups? Her delivery on this song makes me want to kiss her through my speakers. This diva knows a lot of tricks about the art of singing and recording. This song is about how her man treats her right and caters to her needs, but tonight, it’s payback time and he’s going to get it!! This song makes you envy her man… Lol! When you here lines like: “You always put me on a pedestal…” you know this woman just has the right words. I’m in love with this song. Everything is on the mark.
Track 19. Thank You (Don Jazzy $ Altims)
The fact that the drummers were starting to have too much fun ripping the drums apart wasn’t enough to ruin this track for me. I liked this song from the first 10 seconds. Don Jazzy $ Altims provide a very melodious highlife tune for Tiwa to praise God with. I honestly don’t get the noisy drums though, great song still.
Track 20. Without My Heart Ft Don Jazzy (Tiffany Fred, Warren “OAK” Felder)
My best Don Jazzy collaboration yet; the Don delivered a champagne performance on this one. The song actually feels like a real collabo, notice Tiwa’s lyrics again, simple and classy. I LOVE THIS SONG.
Track 21. Kele Kele (Harmony Samuels)
Away from hype and the other things people like to believe, this song is a huge part of the reason Tiwa Savage is where she is today. Kele Kele love is a truly amazing song. Great beat, great lyrics, great singer (track3 – ILEKE couldn’t have done this for her). There couldn’t have been a better way to introduce this amazing songstress to us.
This album is titled Once Upon A Time, so, who would blame me for being expectant? Isn’t a story supposed to come after that phrase? Well, perhaps not. However, I think the tracks are poorly arranged and the sound just keeps changing, giving the album a rather cluttered feel. I hear 9 awesome songs hanging with 12 others (some of them great songs) that had no business being on this project. Also, I hear a lot of “diversifying” on this project, a lot of formula altering too. For example, Folarin isn’t a bad song; in fact, it has more effort than a standard Nigerian “Afro beat” (LOL!) club song will require, yet, this song doesn’t cut it for me because I was hoping to hear Tiwa Savage on the track but I did not. That song is a deliberate attempt to make “what will sell” music. It got me wondering: did the Kele Kele love and Love me, Love me, Love me style and standard not work? Sure it did; so why is she “diversifying” and altering the formula already? Why is she downgrading to impress people who already love her to death? I don’t get it. Meanwhile, if this song represents wande coal’s music mindset at the moment, then someone needs to press the “reset” button as he co-wrote the song.
Finally, I feel like Tiwa’s best songs on this project are the ones with Tiffany Fred, Warren “OAK” Felden, Sauce Wilson and Harmony Samuels. So why did she not proceed to finish the album with them? They seem to know how to create the right ambience for Tiwa to create and shine. I am of the opinion that if this album had comprised the 9 tracks I talked about only, it would have been a very strong contender for album of the year anywhere on the globe. Wholly, this album leaves much to be desired.
NOTE: This summary takes nothing away from the brilliance of the above highlighted tracks; so you’ll be doing yourself a world of favour by copping this album.
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The Angry Mob is a 100% Risk taker, Dream weaver, Human capital investor, Principal consultant with PUSH, A &R in the Nigerian Music biz and he’s stuck in the business of MAKING stars…