EP Review: Victor AD’s ‘Red Eye’ is a safe dance with vanity and impressive songwriting
The project sees Victor AD's strengths and points of success prove a weakness.
His smash hit single, ‘Wetin We Gain’ was an attractive tune that immediately resonated with the struggling youth of Nigeria. Literally out of nowhere, he had one of the hottest songs of 2018. The weird part; the song was a non-danceable dance track. That underlined the unpredictability of Nigerians to sound. Messaging sold ‘Wetin We Gain.’
As a follow-up, he released another anti-poverty, pro-riches anthem, ‘Tire You.’ The song featured Davido. It again performed well, but not at its predecessor's level. If Nigerians didn’t realize his good vocals before, they did now. But sadly, a lot of people also asked if a pattern had been established with his near-vain subtle obsession with wealth.
With ‘Emoji,’ he broke fresh ground. Again, he confirmed another thing; this time, it was his penchant for good, relatable messages and understandable songwriting. He used emojis to tell a love story and it was near-genius.
On Friday, August 2, 2019, the singer released his 7-track EP, Red Eye. Songs like ‘Red Eye’ and ‘Kowo Wole’ stand out because their beats are faster and different respectively, but they share familiar pitfalls with the rest of the project. Victor AD is too safe; he sticks to familiar things that have worked for him.
Don't change a winning formula. But asides how a winning formula will eventually become stale, an overkill of everything is problematic.
The project runs mostly on topics/themes that range between more overkill of anti-poverty/pro-wealth/pro-hardwork anthems and love - otherwise known as ‘wash’ - songs. This confirms what this writer and many feared; there is a pattern to Victor AD’s music.
Topics of love and dreams of wealth are very human and relatable, but there’s a problem with how Victor AD simply cannot give us more. For such a quality songwriter with such an impressive ability to paint pictures with his pen, it was quite disappointing.
But I do feel a sadness for him. His greatest advantage also exposes his weakness. He is one of the few commercial Nigerian acts who genuinely want to stand out with quality songwriting and content. He excels at that, but it also exposes the uniform topics he sings about. If his lyrics were incoherent, we probably wouldn’t notice.
In the end, one questions if Victor AD really wants to document the average desires of Nigerian youth, or is just another Nigerian who only desires the vanity of wealth and ‘love.’
Production on Red Eye is lo-fi radio music. It is not what you would call the typical Nigerian fast-paced ‘lamba.’ Thus, it further exposes the topical limitations on the project. The reason is simple, with fast-paced songs, you would probably be busy dancing that you wouldn’t notice any creative flaw with the music.
The beats on this EP also expose another pattern. Since ‘Wetin We Gain,’ you could literally pin most of the beats - including those on Red Eye - Victor AD has recorded on to one sound. There is also the feeling like AD sounds like he's singing the same thing on almost all his projects.
Is that to say ‘lamba’ is the only way Victor AD could have made this EP better? No. It’s just saying the production on the EP didn’t really help Victor AD. Nonetheless, Red Eye will find a home with a lot of Nigerians under the age of 40.
Everybody wants money, but thirst for wealth and love probably finds great, more energetic home with youth.
Even ‘Red Eye’ that could have been a standout track shares striking similarities to ‘On The Low.’ If Victor AD had sung about love, it might have been called ‘On The Low’ part two.
In the end, Victor AD is a quality songwriter. If he could get out of his comfort zone, expand his themes/topics of discussion, and take more risks with beats, he could really make a quality project. I'm rooting for him.
This is only his first mainstream project. It is by no means bad, its creative flaws are just too pronounced to be overlooked.
• 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: 0.8/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 0.7/2
4.4 - Average
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