A strong review of Nigerian (Naija) albums
LABEL: Soul Musik
Year of release: 2011
My name is Darey and I am not un.DAREY.ted!!!
Darey is one of the few Nigerian singers blessed/cursed (depends on how you look at it) with the ability to conquer the International music audience. Darey’s vocal ability has never been in doubt and he is one of a very select group of proper Nigerian R&B singers who has refused to go the Autotune way. However, we have come to realize the average Nigerian Consumer is more inclined to dance songs than soulful ballads.
Therein lays Darey’s biggest challenge. Compromise your immense talent and go with the flow or stick to your guns and sell records to a select few. Darey seems to have found a way around this hurdle with his latest effort titled “Double Dare”. This album comes in two volumes: Heart for those of us that prefer the Soulful Darey and Beat for the dance/party enthusiasts.
Up first is Volume One: HEART
“Sisi Eko” is handed the responsibility of being the opener for this volume. Written and produced by the fantastic Cohbams Asuquo and talented Darey Art-Alade, this song has no visible fault lines. The beat is just right, fairly mellow yet sufficiently powerful it showcases the “vocal mastery” that is Darey. It is a good song that leaves me smiling.
Darey attempts to do justice to a classic …the evergreen “Sweet Mother” originally done by Prince Nico Mbarga. Darey plays it safe and there are no drastic changes or rather there is barely any change done to the integrity of the original song. For a musician of Darey’s calibre I would have preferred he take a risk on this song but I’m guessing he didn’t want to be accused of murdering a classic.
It’s Don Jazzy again. “Stroke Me” sees the C.E.O of Mohits Records lend his producing genius to Darey’s R&B sound. ‘You can stroke my hair/you can kiss my lips/ you can do whatever baby just as long as you don’t touch my *******/if you no want wahala’ (I trust that we can all fill in the blank). “Stroke Me” is a playful song that will have you attempting some salsa like moves.
“Close” is one of my favorite songs off the HEART volume. Now this is the Darey I’ve been waiting to hear. Every line in this song reads like a love poem. ‘Let me be your clear weather when your blue skies are grey/ I’ll be your calvary from the eyes of every storm/in my bosom you’ll be safe and warm’. It’s a very beautiful song. For the men out there planning on proposing to that special someone, you might consider playing this song as you get on bended knees, it is a certified lady charmer.
“The Way You Are” is one of the more popular singles off this album, it is the opening track on BEAT (volume 2) so I’ll do a proper review of it when we get to that bridge. I’m not sure why Darey has snuck in the Acoustic version here but well I’ll leave it at that.
“Don’t Let Me Know” once again sees a Darey/Cobhams combo. Apparently when they come together these two can do no wrong. Another strong soulful ballad, this time Darey plays the “lover who cannot get over a past flame”. This song is outstanding in every facet – lyrics, delivery and production. A break out single off this album and deserving of every accolade it gets. Darey and Cobhams join forces once again on the next track “Never Say Never” and it appears Darey is at his Soulful best when Cobhams is directing the action. While this song might never be a monster hit, it is however a pretty decent effort.
“Maybe Baby” starts off really slow paced and Darey’s soothing, yet wrenching voice touches all the right chords in my heart. I’m caught up in the “Romantic-ness” of it all. Darey is a beautiful singer with a delivery that will have you thinking this song was written just for you. Amazing song, amazing voice, I love.
The curtain closes on this volume with “Cure The World”. In this song he appeals to everyone. ‘Stop the fighting/stop the waring/celebrate the life you’re given’. It is a very inspiring song and Darey passes his message across just right without appearing to preach. Of note, production wise, is the drum cadence on this track; it gave it that extra something. I have no qualms whatsoever with this song and with this beautiful effort we come to the end of Double Dare’s Volume one …HEART.
Double Dare Volume two: BEAT
“The Way You Are“ kicks off festivities. The Darey/Cobhams combo is certainly a winning formula. This song and its stunning video is already a staple in most of our lives. It is a fantastic song and the message here is simple “If he loves you, he’ll like you just the way you are”.
He called this the Beat volume and I’m expecting mad Beats, the next track does just that. It takes all of 5seconds to have me bobbing my head and tapping my feet. Titled “Provider”, it features dance maestros P-Square and we welcome some tasteful Autotune to the album, no it wasn’t Darey. It’s a very decent song notice my use of “Tasteful Autotune”, we could have done without it but kudos to P-Square as it wasn’t over done. I like this song
“Elevate Ya” has the requisite mad beats but that’s about it. This song just didn’t do it for me, left me feeling that Darey was trying too hard. It’s not totally woeful but I was very glad when the song ended. “Turn Me On” features the franchise celebrity Mocheddah! Don’t you just love her energy? I’m not sure about the combination but there is something about this track that screams “Listen again”. I did and then I noticed the Guitar playing all through this song!!! I like the cowboy/country/western feel to this song and after my 2nd listen I’m won over.
“Pillow” caught me by surprise. After 10 seconds I was already in love with this song. At this point I’d like to thank Darey for blessing us with his genius. “Pillow” is beyond beautiful, I was so impressed by this song that it was a struggle to take it off repeat and continue with this review. ‘She holds me so damn tight I could seize to breathe/but I’m Just a pillow, a tear soaked pillow’. I actually almost started crying just so I could hold my pillow tight and imagine it was Darey.
“Like A Movie” welcomes back Cobhams and a certain Wayne McNeish; I have no idea who that is but his name appears regularly on the CD jacket and he appears to have been an integral part of the making of this album. You might want to google him he’s certainly one to watch. Notice I haven’t said anything about the song itself, well for me it’s below average.
Moving on it is time for the Hit Song “Ba NI Kidi”. ‘Ba Ni Kidi/Ba Ni kidi mallam/Omo hausa ni mi o!’ I’m too busy doing my mallam dance to focus on writing a proper review. If you live on Pluto and you haven’t heard “The Breakout Single” off this album, 4 words “I Sorry for you”. Ba Ni Kidi is a 9/10 everyday of the week and 10/10 on weekends. Special thanks to eLDee and Cobhams who assisted Darey in writing and producing this “Home Run”. That is all.
Timaya *insert wide eyed amazed look* if you thought his feature on M.I’s MI2 album was a fluke this Bayelsa born artiste is back on Darey’s “Back To Sender”. Did he kill it? Yes! It is a very decent song and I’m “Sending it back”. When you listen you’ll understand what this means. Thumbs up Timaya, well done Darey.
The Way You Are (remix)” ft Chamillionaire or as we Nigerians prefer Hakeem Seriki, yes he is one of ours. There are no more words oh! Chamillionaire adds an International flavor to a song that would do very well internationally. They switched things up a little with the beat and I appreciate that Darey gave us a slightly different feel to this amazing song. Some jamacian/patois thingey also happens in this song. It’s a very good effort.
The name “Belly” gives us a little insight to what lays in wait. If you’re in the market for a baby making song, look no further. There is Nigerian R&B and there is Darey. It is a more than Fantastic song. Darey hits all the right notes and guess who helped write and produce, it’s that gentleman named Wayne McNeish. Have you googled him yet?
Darey threw in a bonus track, the star studded remix of Hit Song “Style na Style” 9ice delivers, Jesse Jagz was on point, Sound Sultan joins the family and I instantly like his take on it. There’s a voice I heard harmonizing superbly in Yoruba at some points in this song I suspect it’s Darey but if I’m wrong my apologies to that voice. A far from shabby way to draw the curtains on the “Double Dare” Project
Outstanding Tracks: Pillow, Ba Ni kidi, Close, Don’t Let Me know, The Way You Are, Back To Sender, Belly
Disappointing Tracks: Elevate Ya, Like a Movie
VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 8/10
SKIP FACTOR: 8/10
THE VERDICT: 7.8/10
3 Words… Crown Him King!!!
When it comes to R&B we are sometimes of the opinion that foreign is better. No doubt thanks to the bevy of shoddy acts screaming their lungs out. Listening to Darey’s latest effort “Heart Beat” has strangely left me short of words. I fear I may have exhausted all the accolades in the body of this review and I apologize if the next few lines sound like praise singing. Darey is without a doubt the “King of Nigerian R&B”. His vocal ability, lyrical content and delivery are unrivaled so far. Darey has that innate ability to connect with the listener; he makes music that speaks to your soul.
Doing a Double Album was a smart move as the consumer decides what version of Darey he prefers to listen to. Now for my two cents, purchasing only one of the two is a very wrong move. To understand the man and his music both volumes need to be in your music collection. Heart and Beat is not aimed at separating the man into two bits but a way to show off his versatility and mastery of his craft. Double Dare is an Album for your car, for the clubs and for the bedroom, there is something in here for everyone.
This album MAKES THE iPOD.