There's a trite saying that debut projects take the longest to make and invariably the hardest to put together as they are a combination of all the experiences and lessons the artist has accumulated over the years.
It 'Pheelz Good' to be a star [Pulse Album Review]
In 'Pheelz Good,' Pheelz relishes his newfound star status while displaying his rudimentary understanding of music.
For Pheelz, his experiences involve that of a producer whose rudimentary knowledge of music saw him rise from a newbie producer to a star status with strong links to one of the biggest labels in Nigeria.
After making a name for himself as a producer, Pheelz embarked on the bold journey of cashing in his talent, experience, and profile in the hope of doing for himself what he has done for other artists.
His debut EP 'Pheelz Good' comes off the back of a string of hit releases where he tapped tailored artists that delivered on 'Finesse' and 'Electricity'. After being given a lift by Davido and BNXN, Pheelz sets out to not only consolidate these early gains but also to prove that there's more to him than pairing up with tested and trusted artists.
"Is this my reality? Or I'm really this fly?" he asks in the opener 'Ballin' in which he contemplates the newfound success that has seen him deliver a smash hit, perform at the BET, and be hosted by a major NBA outfit. "I paid my dues," Pheelz says accepting his newfound status while relishing in his abilities as he describes himself as the king of the dancehall.
'Pheelz Good' is somewhat of a diary in that it documents the many experiences of its curator. The EP captures three sides of Pheelz - lover boy, bad boy, and hitmaker.
Pheelz displays his lover boy side in tracks like 'Stand By You' where his vocals mellow over the mid-tempo beat as he professes undying love. Armed with his experiences from heart-wrenching heartbreaks and exploring the streets, he asserts that he's ready and fit to commit. He allows himself to revel in his feeling in 'Pheelz Like Summer' where he maintains a similar tempo.
He explores his bad-boy side in BNXN-assisted 'Finesse' where he insisted on living as he pleased while retaining the self-awareness required to live with the consequences of his choices. In 'Pablo Escobar', he talks up himself as a hustler who struggles to find time for love.
He puts forward his hitmaker credentials in the Davido-assisted smash hit 'Electricity,' 'Emi Laye Mi,' and 'Ewele' which retain the common denominator of a star who's on the role and who has no intention of slowing down.
A student of music, Pheelz displays a level of musicality that gleans from the rudimentary knowledge of music that started from the church and developed over the years of experience. This can be found in his vocal technique and delivery, tempo, backup vocals, and general application. This musicality also pops up in form of fine details like his subtle interpolation of K-Ci & Jojo's 'All My Life' in 'Pheelz Like Summer.'
There are times when the song feels a bit dated like 'Pheelz Like Summer' which sounds like a song Banky W would have released in the mid-2010s. Also 'Ewele' sounds like a dated street-pop song that predated the Zanku era. However, the use of crowd vocals brings it into the current soundscape.
While he deploys similar techniques and melodies across the tracks, he's able to give them distinct identities through his basic understanding of music. His use of choir backup elevated 'Pablo Escobar' and his genre-bending style in 'Stand By You' helped it reach the required height.
For an artist like Pheelz, his superpower which is the ability to make minimalist music can also be his weakness. In 'Pheelz Good' he failed to switch up his delivery, instead choosing to remain flat like in 'Pablo Escobar' which carries a similar sonic cadence as 'Ballin' despite the former requiring a more boisterous delivery. And in 'Emi Laye Mi,' he lacked the sting needed to propel a street record in a way that an artist like Oristefemi who also relies mainly on melodies would have done.
'Pheelz Good' is a bold statement of intent from an artist with a rich knowledge of music.
The album sequencing progresses thematically and sonically as it moves steadily while picking up pace.
The production leans mostly toward a mid-tempo Pop/R&B pace while being strongly underlined by R&B influence indicative in the composition. This allowed for a sonic coherence that didn't risk monotony.
In terms of track arrangement, I would switch 'Ewele' for 'Finesse' as the former shares sonic similarities with 'Electricity'. I also think 'Emi Laye Mi' and 'Pablo Escobar' should have switched places.
Overall, 'Pheelz Good' comes together to capture the identity and talent of its curator who wants us all to know that it feels good to be a star.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Album Sequencing: 1.5/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.4/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.4/2
Total: 7.2 - Victory
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