Album – About 30
Artiste – Adekunle Gold
Record Label – Afro Urban Records/Empire (2018)
Duration: 14 Tracks, 2 Bonus tracks (54 Minutes)
It had supposedly taken him two years to put together this album, Adekunle Gold set a standard with his debut album, Gold released in 2016, but events have since taken place leading to his sophomore project, About 30 anxiously looked upon as one of the most anticipated album of the year.
From leaving his label, YBNL, Adekunle Gold has gone on to set his own imprint, establish the 79th element band and enjoyed successful tours in Europe and America, showing artistic visionary and creative growth along the line.
Again, amidst the monotonous and saturated pop sound prevailing on the scene, Adekunle Gold is that one artist that has always gone left from the crowd and 'About 30' serves up a refreshing and solid alternative.
Heightening anticipation around the album was the deftly rolled out album release promotion vehicle, getting his fans more intimate with the 14 track project, where he shares his experiences over the past three decades touching on love, growth and purpose.
First, he had done well in limiting the number of previously released singles as only two songs, 'Ire' and 'Money' made it on the album.
With Adekunle Gold, love has always been a theme with 'Sade' and 'Orente' on his debut effort, and it is no different with this album as it gets displayed in a telling spectrum; from love gained or flourishing in 'Surrender' and 'Somebody', which kicks off with a funky kick as he reiterates love for his girl despite the distractions, to love gone sour in 'Damn' Delilah', which he reveals is a true life story.
However, unlike his debut album where the only featured artist comes in the form of Simi, Adekunle Gold expands his range working with the likes of DYO, Flavour, Seun Kuti and the Lagos Community Gospel Choir, and even though Simi doesn't get name credit on the art cover, her vocals are splashed across the album.
The first guest feature comes in the person of Dayo Olatunji also known as DYO, who invades your deepest senses with her explosive vocals on Down with you, a song of two lovers exchanging devoted vows interchanging verses in different languages. ''I'm down with you always, I will never let you go''.
'Yoyo' with Flavour gives a classical high-life music created to be radio friendly, but however fails to inspire or reach the desired heights, while 'Mama' is another of those songs dedicated to the mothers and sounds more like an album filler.
Personally, the album's finest moment comes in 'Fame', which touches on loneliness, want and depression even in the midst of family and loved ones, the message send volts through your head and the production is an absolute eargasm.
'Mr Foolish' with Seun Kuti also brings Afrobeat to life with the blaring horns and conscious message.
'Pablo Alakori ' inspired by a social media miscreant named Pablo is another highlight on the project as Adekunle Gold is the conscious police preaching patience and hard work as he sings ''Mago mago no be the way, wayo no be the answer'', while There is a God with the LCGC sees the singer reflect on the glory and beauty of God from a birds eye view.
For his follow-up effort, Adekunle Gold has served up a really fascinating album, cohesive, distinct, matured and clearly progressive, however there still remains room for improvement in execution as he stayed along the safe line all through which could leave his sound occasionally montonous.
'About 30' is a well crafted project that while falling short of raising the bar set by Gold, it however will further strengthen his legacy on the scene.
1-Dull2-Boring2.5-Average3-Worth Checking Out3.5-Hot4-Smoking Hot4.5-Amazing5-Perfection