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Somadina’s ‘Heart of The Undeniable Heavenly’ is an emotional rollercoaster of early adulthood [Pulse Album Review]

H.O.T.U.H is rich in exportable potential amongst a lot of young European and American fans, who will be transported to new realms when they hear some of these songs performed live.

When Somadina was 20, she released Five Stages, a picture-esque conceptual, diaristic depiction of the infamous ‘Five Stages of Grief.’ It was a sad album, illuminated by the brilliance of detail and the occasional moments of reminiscent luster.

In certain moments on ‘Five Stages,’ Somadina looked like a young woman, robbed of her innocent admiration of life’s warmth. It felt like she was being stripped of the final vestiges of her psychological naivety - the kind that makes human beings believe in good things; the kind that keeps the inner child alive.

Since then, she has matured and continues to school in the United Kingdom. Now 22, her new 11-track album, Heart of the Undeniable Heavenly [HOTUH] loses all the admirable innocence and grief. In its place lies a more aggressive and seemingly mature edge.

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The lyrical content of Somadina's latest project is such a rude awakening, that the prayer at the end of ‘Dreams’ - presumably from Somadina’s mom - feels like a necessary intercession. Don’t laugh, this is serious, please.

H.O.T.U.H is a show of range, and a sharp left from R&B. At its root, it explores desire, self-discovery, sexuality, cravings, liberation/freedom, rebellion, growth exploration, the growing pains of early adult angst and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it, but that’s all covered by Somadina’s pungent indifference.

Across the album lies Gen Z liberal tendency for emotionless attraction barring the retributive tendencies of ‘Citrus Tears,’ where she chases a dude, like someone chased her on ‘Everybody Bleeds.’

Before then, even when she gets a little vulnerable with passive amorous longing on ‘Dreams,’ she mires it in vagueness.

But underneath all the ‘maturity,’ there lies an undertone, that this phase has reactive and momentary coming-of-age tendencies.

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Perhaps, the more mature, less emotional feel to ‘H.O.T.U.H’ is a reaction to the pains of ‘Five Stages,’ as Somadina tries to forge a way towards healing in her own way, while she also grapples with the oft-overwhelming happenings, desires and tendencies of early adulthood, in a liberal world as a Gen Z woman, affected by the internet and the alluring tendencies of the contemporary values like sexual liberalism, which nurture her.

And those values can be addictive because they offer a sense of power, and even dominance.

Perhaps, that is why Somadina transforms from a lovestruck teenager, into a young woman, who is bold enough to cop a young man who suits her taste into a tryst, but without the usual emotional baggage or trappings that come with it - just sex, as they say.

‘I Saw An Angel On The Rooftop and Wept’ and ‘Everybody Bleeds’ typify this mindstate. To put an exclamation point on the casual nature of the said tryst, she sings, “I don’t give a f**k about you” on ‘Everybody Bleeds.’

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But this type of life also comes with pressure, which Somadina aims to dispel on the self-explanatory, ‘WDYWFM' or 'Imagine Give A F**k,' just like the atypical mid-2000s Teen Pop/Teen Rock song, pulled from a mid-2000s soundtrack to a High school/coming-of-age flick. Think Joan Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation,’ with a Brookes Brothers remix, ‘In The Summer.’

There was also a nod to an exploration of sexuality on ‘Crzy Girl,’ where Somadina embodies a character, who appears to be convincing a girl to leave her boyfriend for her.

The Sound

All of these themes were canvassed on a markedly different sound as well. The sonic theme of the album seems to be "Emotional Psychedelia."

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Somadina explores Teen pop/Teen Rock with grown topics, Alt-pop, Plastic Afro-soul, Synth Pop, Soul, Sophisti-Pop, Neo-Soul, Techno, Reggaeton and mid-2000s Kylie Minogue Post-Pop sounds.

In fact, if sped up Nelly Furtado, Gym Class Heroes Pop, Kid Cudi, Lorde’s slurp but with a heavily alternative edge, mid-2000s Kylie Minogue Post-pop and Paramore had a baby, delivered by Madonna’s 80’s Pop vocal manipulations and intentionally dexterous blandness, and was raised in 70’s Psychedelic Rock-obsessed post civil war South Eastern Nigeria, but grew up on 2000s Teen Pop Disney songs, it would sound like this album.

Standout tracks

It’s not all doom and gloom either. The album’s sonics excels in its detail and throwback tendencies. The Rock elements of the album were perfected, and songs like ‘Everybody Bleeds,’ ‘I Saw An Angel On The Rooftop and Smiled,’ ‘Small Paradise’ and ‘Citrus Tears’ stand out.

In fact, ‘Small Paradise’ is the most judicious and most exciting use of a Cavemen feature in over 18 months. It is an amazing Psychedelic Soul piece, by way of ChillWave.

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Final Thoughts

Somadina is a Nigerian born in Port Harcourt, raised in the Netherlands and now schools in the UK. Her first EP reflected more of a calmer take on music, while her Electronic ‘Dance’ song sounds like a Dutch club, playing host to Kaytranada.

H.O.T.U.H also feels like an anthology of different states of mind, woven together by one personality/purveryor, rather than a concept album, explained through each track and bound by a topically uniform nexus.

In the end, this is an impressive sophomore, robbed of being top tier by oft-bare songwriting in her verses and tendencies for being inaudible. Her songwriting clearly shows what she was trying to communicate on each song, especially with its hook, but sometimes she is inaudible.

Barring ‘I Saw An Angel On The Roof & Wept’ and ‘Citrus Tears,’ the delivery of some of verses are a little bland and bereft of substance, but redeemed by her consistently stellar hooks and the fact that she communicated what was necessary in those verses.

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That said, H.O.T.U.H is rich in exportable potential amongst a lot of young European and American fans, who will be transported to new realms when they hear some of these songs performed live.

Ratings: /10

• 0-1.9: Flop

• 2.0-3.9: Near fall

• 4.0-5.9: Average

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• 6.0-7.9: Victory

• 8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

Tracklist: 1.5/2

Themes and Delivery: 1.8/2

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Production: 1.6/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2

Execution: 1.5/2

Total:

8.0 - Champion

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