Korede Bello isn’t the most naturally gifted member of Mavin 2.0, producer/label boss Don Jazzy’s strategic play for a foot in pop music’s future. That honor should maybe go to the more vocally able Reekado Banks who has both a Headies Next Rated prize and a fairly received debut album in the bag.
But in the battle for the adulation of millions of fans, vocal ability is usually consigned to third, fifth or hundredth place as the case may be, giving way to other factors like shrewd marketing, organized roll out and that intrinsic bait known as the X-factor.
From the moment his famous wink made an appearance in the video for the Mavin all-star anthem, Dorobucci, Korede Bello was anointed hot property.
A monster solo single, Godwin certified his hit making bonafides and the inevitable debut album was virtually guaranteed.
Belloved is named after Korede Bello’s screaming hordes of fans, those whose hearts go aflutter whenever he attempts to replicate that star making wink of his.
There is even a single, Goodtime with a cross-section of those friendlies, coming under the umbrella of Bellovers.
Previously released singles Godwin, Romantic (with Tiwa Savage), Do Like That, Mungo Park are included as an afterthought as bonus cuts, giving room for newer material. If only new translated directly as exciting.
The disc opens absent any fuss, with the easy listening, sing-a-long hook of Korede and opens smoothly into similar fare like Oh Baybe (Hermiosa) and the dance ready Repete.
The songs on Belloved essentially blur into one another with each retaining the sticky sweetness that has come to be associated with the Korede Bello brand.
There is a palpable unwillingness to offend and everything,- from content to delivery,- is kept to an acceptable PG13. If the record does say anything at all about the twenty one year old, it is that he knows his audience quite well.
Audiences who do not fall into this age demography may find themselves unmoved by the childishness of the entire affair. When Bello wants to stray and branch out into more adult sounding fare, as he does on Do Like That, he does it so innocently that it is almost negligible.
Production work is handled naturally by the trio of Don Jazzy, Baby Fresh and Altims. None of them is particularly inspired and can you blame them, a chapter of classic Russian literature is more exciting than the Korede Bello brand as currently marketed.
Still there is a positive here, at least for young Bello. Beloved is the kind of music sensitive adults would encourage their wards to listen to.
In this era of social media freedom and overload, it is hard to exercise these powers but at least, the record is a reminder of those good days gone by.
Small victory maybe?
Album Name: Belloved
Artist: Korede Bello
Tracks: 11 + 3 bonus tracks