“Songs About U” is the Banky W we know and appreciate. But it is not the Banky W the world wants today.
EP - Songs About U
Artiste - Banky W
Record Label - Empire Mates Entertainment (2017)
Banky W isn’t just an artist. He is a lifestyle. When Nigerian-US artist Jidenna showed up with his ‘Classic man’ campaign, he had to simply look across the charts and find out that Mr W has always been the ideal Nigerian classic man.
It is this brand, paired with his impeccable music that has made Banky W such a huge influence in Nigerian music. Today, the country’s R&B genre exists because Banky W owned it to the extreme.
He fed the continent impeccable music, by fusing Western influences with local romantic and songwriting elements to score heavy hits. He has done this for a decade and carved a throne for himself. His brand is not only crush-material for the ladies, but also aspirational for the men.
That’s why his engagement to Nigerian actress, Adesua Etomi, made international headlines. Banky W’s influence stretches from the Nile to the Niger, and beyond. His new records contained in this new EP “Songs About U,” are all focused on Etomi aka ‘Susu’ aka ‘U’.
Banky W’s artistry hinges on his appreciation of women, and the ideal romantic interaction with them. He hits all the right spots, has all the best words, and the immersive, mushiest melody to put together near-perfect projects.
On “Songs About U,” it is not different. The entire work is subjective due to Etomi’s existence. And from the start, he encourages that narrative with a sequel to ‘Yes/No’, one of his most iconic records to ever cross his lips.
This time on ‘All for u’, the lover is in the bed, and accordingly, the question “Would you be my lover?” becomes a declaration of love and commitment. It is now “Are you gonna be my lover, yes? Are you gonna be my mama, yes? Are you gonna give me all your love…”
Susu has already made her stand. Banky W is affirming. We have seen this on Instagram and all news website. It’s just an artistic leap to give a nod to the celebrated love.
Banky W goes along these lines, passionate love song re-imagined and rewritten with various melodies. ‘All I want is u’ is backed with Highlife drums and strings which contributes local flavoring to the project. There’s reggae in the ‘Made for U’, while an acoustic guitar holds down ‘Heaven’. ‘High notes’ is an exercise in experimentation, as high piano keys marry vacant synths and EDM. ‘Kololo’ combines EDM with local, muscular pop drums to provide a fusion that polarizes opinions.
It is refreshing to see Nonso Amadi combine with Mr W on ‘Running after U’. It almost feels like the baton of the genre is being handed down to the younger generation.
All of this is impeccable music, which will resonate deeply amongst Banky’s core fans. But there’s a little problem, and it’s about context.
When placed on a pedestal and judged objectively, this is fantastic music with no fault. But art is created in a subjective environment, where things such as the bigger picture, cultural relevance and the prevailing soundscape come into play because they affect the music and give it meaning.
When subjected to these, Banky W’s project falls short due to monotony. It’s time for Banky to evolve his delivery and artistry. For over a decade, he has done this music and rode his wave, and it does feel like we are staring at the last legs of it.
It sounds tired. It sounds old.
Banky W needs to switch up the sound, infuse new elements, and work with more revolutionary musicians who would breathe new life into his art. “Songs About U” is the Banky W we know and appreciate. But it is not the Banky W the world wants today.
We want more. We want different. We want a new W.
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