EP Review: Ilaye's 'Pneuma EP' is one of the best Nigerian projects of 2019
The 6-track EP is a mix of beautiful production, impeccable songwriting and masterful vocal deliveries.
Her last two singles, 'Binoculars' and 'Metaphors' were featured on 'Who Get Ear' by Pulse Nigeria - the weekly list of the 10 songs you need to play. Her name is Ilaye and she is a member of Nigeria's largest online music community, WeTalkSound.
A few days ago, she continued her journey into mainstream consciousness with a 6-track EP titled, Pneuma EP.
The EP is a mix of beautiful production, impeccable songwriting and masterful vocal deliveries as she tells tales of romance, love, heartache and imperfection. Sometimes, Ilaye's low-register mezzo will give you shivers.
In Greek, 'Pneuma' means 'breath.' The EP opens up with 'Barbecue,' which is symbolism for how her childhood crush felt to her - oh, what a meal. The ode to this faceless boy with whom Ilaye once dreamed of taking over the universe casts her back to her young life in a tiny estate. However, the boy's faults prevent that.
Nonetheless, she wishes him well. 'Binoculars' is the first single off Pneuma EP. On an ethereal sentimental ballad that runs on a collision of well-timed instrumentation and melodies, Ilaye documents her experience on a mountain in Greece. She uses binoculars to spy on two lovers. Remember, 'Pneuma' means 'breath' in Greek.
Probably due to her experience, which she shares on 'Barbecue,' she has a love-hate relationship with what she sees. She sings, "I love to sightsee, but I'm not cut out for this, the vision is blinding... I don't want to wake up from this dream..." This is a tale of conundrum, emotions documented by brilliant and imaginative songwriting.
In the end, Ilaye admits that she needs help to get off these binoculars. 'Metaphors' is the second single off Pneuma EP. On this pop-tinged R&B/Soul track, Ilaye likens herself to a late traveler on a late-night subway train and a voyager on a morning sea - hence, the 'metaphors.'
The is a tale of circumstantial love that might or might not have existed. Yet, its two main characters are broken and likely to attract in whatever the circumstance they find themselves and whatever form their journey takes. This songwriting is so good, it's scary.
'Dearest Friend,' is an ode to a lover who seems close, yet distant. He is also pushes his lover with tales of inadequacies - he is never contented. It is another sentimental ballad that runs on beautiful organ strings and guitar chords.
On 'Moonhead,' Ilaye tells a love story on a triumphant ballad that gets cinematic on its hook. If Rihanna's 'Needed Me' had a ballad version, this is it. Ilaye admits her imperfections and almost admits that she cannot be trusted - a heartbreaker.
The final track is titled, 'On This Side of Forlorn.' It is a tale of longing and an admittance of loneliness. Ilaye sings about needing touch and warmth from a certain partner "on this side of forlorn..." Those guitar chords are beautiful, so is this entire song and so is this EP.
Lord in heaven! No human being has a right to make music this good. None.
If this EP had dropped in the 2000s, it would have been perfectly suited to TV Shows like One Tree Hill and The O.C. Incredibly, she sounds like Rosi Golan.
Ilaye can make her singing more audible and her enunciation better so she can be easily digestible for even the most random person, but Pneuma is one of the best Nigerian projects of 2019.
• 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
Content and Themes: 2/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 2/2
9.9/10 - Victory
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