“The Never Say Never Guy” is a symbolic project, but Skales has passed up a great opportunity to silence the doubting voices with his music.
Album - The Never Say Never Guy
Artiste - Skales
Record Label - Baseline Music (2017)
Duration - 70 minutes
“Now every day I’m getting busy, my bank alert dey make me dizzy…”
That’s how Skales starts off his new album. He is in a celebratory and self-reflective mood. And there are very few reasons why he shouldn’t feel this way. And he captures all these on the opener ‘Thank God’. (“I dey thank God o, I be landlord o, I get the password oh, I don turn somebody o”).
Skales took an impossible situation in 2015 and turned it into winning streak. From losing his deal with EME and being in the cold, the young man has worked his way back into the radar and thrived off his music. He has full label backing from Baseline Music, he takes home great pay from shows, performances and endorsements. Despite the incessant backlash and cyber-bullying, he keeps his art going, and right now, he is celebrating his second album.
And while everyone in the industry are happy for him to win, “The Never Say Never Guy” album isn’t a win. It’s an uphill struggle. Although the story behind the project is inspirational, the music on it doesn’t back it up. Skales displays an innate refusal to grow. Weak production, poor songwriting and bad A&R dogs this project with each track you play.
The album lacks any comprehensive concept, with unimaginative pop tracks thrown all over the place. This is in keeping with the formula from his debut “Man Of The Year.” He sacrifices substance for fluffy pop aspirations, a mistake that cost him dearly.
Skales relies heavily on Caribbean influences and mostly fails to execute them, even with external help. ‘Booty language’ is a lesson on tepid lyrics and poor sampling. The riddims are off, and the singer is lost. Wande Coal is a helpless passenger on the discordant ‘Make love in the morning’, as he appears ordinary on the record. PJ Morton of Maroon 5 throws some desperate stardust on the tropical ‘Feel good’, but poor songwriting kills what is a great production. ‘Gallant’ was long a lost cause before Lil Kesh signed up to its hollow production.
As the record progresses, there are some few wins to pick from. ‘For you’ will be funneled into the club dance circuits of Lagos, and given the DJ repetitive spin. Timaya worked had to consciously elevate ‘Speak my mind’, and Burna Boy continues his good work on Skales’ life. His infusion on ‘Gbefun one time’ makes it the crown of this project, as his deft delivery meets the Afrobeat production. If Skales had a hundred of this song on the album, it would have made it a better project.
Once again, Skales makes the same mistakes he made on his first project. Little direction, no strong theme or character, and not enough compelling music. It fails to hold your consciousness for long. “The Never Say Never Guy” is a symbolic project, but Skales has passed up an opportunity to silence the doubting voices with his music. If we divest ourselves from his beautiful story, and focus on the music on display, then there's enough average material to support the 'negative' voices.
Let’s all celebrate his bank account with him, and count this as a career blessing. Because when you dig deeper, you just might change your mind.
3-Worth Checking Out