Monsieur Bello has had an amazing career ever since Don Jazzy put him on in 2014. Precisely the 28th of February 2014 and in 3 years, he’s attained a level of commercial and critical success that’s very commendable and this he did without an album. Back in the days, artistes paid in sweat and blood to put out a strong debut album but it appears those days are dead and gone as Korede’s debut album, just like that of many other emerging acts, is fan-base-driven but artistically and sonically bland. Belloved, which was coined from his name; Bello and the scripture; …this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, won’t establish Korede as an artistic maestro or be regarded as a classic, many years from now. It’s tailored to please the fans of the ‘now’ and even at that, Korede still neglects the fans who would appreciate a more purposeful artistry.
His signature thin voice starts off with Korede (track 1) and it’s a note of thankfulness to the fans. It’s as adorable as Korede tends to be. Seeing as a bulk of his fans are female, it makes sense to present the usual ‘ode’ to the female body, which is what Oh Baybe (track 2) is but despite the Spanish leanings, it borders uninteresting and is kind of tired because of the topic that’s already common-sing in the industry.
Korede’s approach is laid-back on the somewhat underwhelming Repete (track 3) while Butterfly’s (track 4) melody is more like it and is the perfect choice for live events like the Afropolitan Vibes and weddings/ social functions.
Asides the infectious melody, another awesome point about Let Him Go (track 5) is the lyrics, urging women to let go of fuck-boys who exhibit little or no regard. He’s dropping metaphorical gems like; “if the man nor dey drop bar, make you give am the space bar, shift, alt and delete am… It’s the one song that deserves a video to properly articulate the moral points. Don Jazzy deserves cool points, too, for unexpectedly switching the underlying production towards the end and attaching it appropriately.
My People (track 6) is generic pop with a dressing of fuji. On If You Smile (track 7), the parts sung in Yoruba is what makes the song more enjoyable. Young Presido (track 8) is based on a rumba style beat and deserves a worthy remix or a re-release, with another MAVIN, in the name of a ‘refix’ seeing as Mr. Bello near wasted the production with his delivery. Favourite Song (track 9) is a satisfactory ballad.
Good Time (track 10) is a feel good/happy song. Features a few fans and the instrumentation at the start is reminiscent of The Jackson 5’s ABC. A worthy add. Korede is understated, again, on Ese Baba (track 11) but his message of thankfulness is thoughtful and sincere.
Belloved won’t break no grounds neither is it expected to advance Korede’s career in any way. If anything, the songs that preceded it constitute a better body of work.