Album: Gold (2016)
Artiste: Adekunle Gold
Adekunle Gold was mostly known for his excellence at photoshop; he would impose an image of himself on a picture of a famous celebrity and if one was none the wiser, it would seem absolutely real. The currency of accolades he received for his skill, was a substantial stash, enough to make him a relevant internet sensation but in retrospect, the expression of that creative line was, mostly, the springboard he used to launch his music career.
He had been recording music since his teenage years but in December 2014, he released his first official single; the vocally expressive mid-tempo, Sade (track 16). Pheelz, the producer, brought it to Olamide’s attention who recognized the huge potential and signed Adekunle to his record label, YBNL. And the rest is, truly, history.
4 singles and 19 months later, his debut album, Gold, has birthed and at 16 songs long, not one average song exists. And the presence of only 1 feature, is also telling of Adekunle’s dexterity as an artiste. As one would expect an Adele album to consist of towering ballads, it is only right to expect earworms, steeped in Yoruba and meaningful lyrics, from an Adekunle record and he didn’t falter. Gold is a storyteller’s canvas as Adekunle uses music to paint realistic life scenarios and despite the heavy or jolly premise of a song, the sing-along effect is ever present.
It’s a debut that’s very lyrical with properly-infused harmonics and no detours, such as non-comedic comedy skits or any of such distractions, masked as connectors. Even the stellar productions do not dwarf his vocal work and at the end of play, Adekunle’s voice and rhythm is the MVP of a quality album such as this.
Gold (Intro) is a perfect rendition accompanied by piano sounds, as Adekunle prepares the ground for what is to be exhilarating journey. He, brilliantly, follows that with My Life (track 2) which is engaging enough to keep his listeners going- It’s a song that is guaranteed to rock a Yoruba party and chief amongst the instrumentation is the talking drum, which is one of the staples of any Yoruba party that rocks and is what makes the interlude, starting at the 2:11 mark, a delight to the ears. The harmonies come to play on Beautiful Night (track 3) which is a lover’s anthem and a beautiful song that makes for some gentle but joyous dance.
Adekunle’s vocal work flexes its strength and tenacity on Nurse Alabere (track 5) and accompanying it is the skilled play of the consortium of instruments, thus a stellar and cultural delivery. The melody becomes less heightened on Friendzone (track 6) as he seeks a way out of the ‘friend zone.’ Songs such as Paradise (track 7), Temptation (track 11) Fight For You (track 13), Sweet Me (track 15) and No Forget (track 8), which features Simi, is another celebration of slow harmonies, glorious choral arrangements and worthy plot lines that meld to create sounds highly pleasing to the ear.
The benefits of hard work is one of the most harped on topics, ever, and could get overbearing due to repetition. But thankfully, Adekunle devised a poppy and engaging route to remind us on Work (track 10). Aware of his value as a singer, he sings Ariwo ko ni Music (noise isn’t music) on Ariwo (track 12), a song that could also pass as ‘shade’ to a good number of music acts.
The releases before the album; Orente (track 4), Pick Up (track 9), Ready (track 14) and Sade (track 16), all fit the harmonious and story-telling narrative, thus a cohesive body of work. In promoting the album, he said he started writing in 2014 and the songs were conceived out of true life events and in listening, it is evident.
It’s a strong debut and features the kind of songs that do not go out of style and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Adekunle’s debut album is as good as gold.
Written by Adé táyọ̀