On it is a feast of inspiration while Moe plays the bastion of encouragement, inspiration and a need for gratitude, even in the hustle phase, when all seems lost in distant lands of effervescent problems.
The song has eight songs for a total run time of 26 minutes, with a sound primarily rooted in alternative R & B, Afro & B, Afrobeats, sentimental ballad, folk and one hint of trap/dubstep.
The first part of Magic seems rooted in themes of success, struggle, contentment, gratitude, encouragement which ended in a celebration of opulence.
The second part of three songs primarily features love-themed songs that ranges from the fabled, ‘ruining your with enjoyment,’ obsessive love affair and a declaration of love which ended in a break-up, stemming from betrayal and a lack of appreciation.
Magic is seems a cohesive project that subtly tells two relatable stories pertinent to the life of a young person/man – the first story started terribly and ends happily, while the second story starts happily and ends sadly.
The first story unfolds in the first four tracks about struggle that ends in success, while the second story unfolds in the final three tracks about a ‘God when…’ type of love which ends sadly. At first glance, this seems masterful vision, really. But is it the full story?
Here is a breakdown of this Magic and the two stories it subtly tells;
Themes, Topics and Songwriting
Moe, The Motivator
Short story I: Sad start that soundtracks the struggle in retrospect and a happy ending.
Life can get hard, and sometimes, it becomes herculean to go on when efforts don’t end in desired results. On the first four songs of Magic, Moelogo is a seeming inspiration that tells a short story of struggle that ends in happiness.
On it, he canvasses perseverance, he encourages and even advises contentment, without measuring your life against another person’s.
The album opens up to a sample of Islamic Salah chant in Arabic on ‘God’s Work.’ There’s trap drums and the underlying sample of Moe’s voice saying, “Ise oluwa baba ni,” which is basically Yoruba that celebrates God’s work and alludes to how nobody can stop God’s work.
At first, I had a problem with Moe’s flows on the opening verse, but on a second verse, I was more at home with it.
On this song, Moe is an inspiration telling people that if he can do it, they can to. There are themes of perseverance inspiring the encouragement and inspiration.
The production is thought provoking, almost like an improve version of Moe’s 2016 song, ‘Penkele.’ The trap drums are supported by an African folk percussion and acoustic guitar chords that dropped timely like on an Ebenezer Obey record.
The second track is something more familiar to Moe’s style. It’s ‘Grateful,’ that incorporates African folk with tenets of an acoustic sentimental ballad.
Moe tells the story of how he came from nothing – personally – to where he is and how he’s grateful, despite the imperfections of life. But in the end, what it in fact preaches is contentment with what he has, than worry about the things he does not.
He sings, “Don’t look at other peoples’ lives, your life is good. Don’t pray for what you can’t handle, your life is good…”
Don’t miss the cohesion, we have come from appreciating 'God’s work' to being content, now we are on title track, ‘Magic,’ another acoustic sentimental ballad with a hint of alternative folk. Honestly, I would have like just one drum per bar – a drum like on Infinity’s ‘Olori Oko.’
Moe sings about how needing God’s guidance to get what one needs. He also spoke about the importance of working hard and finding the x factor required to succeed.
The songwriting has been exception throughout and even the expletives and adlibs don’t seem like simple space fillers. There’s detail here. Moe sings, “There’s magic in you, you gotta find it…” As a follow-up to ‘Grateful,’ ‘Magic’ seems to talk about dealing with the struggles he previously highlighted, but vowed not to look towards.
There is a problem here though and it will be discussed later.
Sometimes, we don’t want to see things, but they sometimes come and you have to deal with them. It’s easier said than done and my interpretation seems tedious, but it could make sense.
The Spax-produced ‘Luku Luku,’ is like a slowed down version of Spax’s masterful production for Show Dem Camp’s madness with Burna Boy, ‘Legend’ from Palmwine Music III.
The arrangements are the same. This song is slightly more celebratory than the acknowledgement of ‘God’s Work.’ Moe starts by singing, “I pull up with my whip like skrr…” He now has money, the story is ending well and even with a hint of opulence and spendthrift tendencies. Now, the character is dancing and chopping life.
The story slightly aligns. The songwriting is again faultless.
Moe, The Big Brother
On the switched up afrobeat of ‘Mad,’ Moe chastises a person with a pipe dream who aims to travel without a visa, and get rich without working. Incredible scenes.
Moe, The Lover Boy
Themes: Whirlwind love story suddenly gone sour
‘On Me,’ is simply has more as the sugar daddy. Think T.I in his music video for 2008 hit, ‘Whatever You Like,’ that’s what Moe embodies on this song. It also kind of follows that after the struggle, money don come and he can now ask women, ‘what is your problem?’ like any Nigerian big man.
‘All About You,’ has subtle hints of dancehall and Moe urges a woman to GBESE! and match her enemies who said their ‘union’ won’t last. Moe wants to give her everything and he sings glowingly and gleefully about this love.
‘Heard You Say,’ has Moelogo singing about one-chance love affairs. Apparently, he left the UK for a Nigerian girl. Wait first bros, don’t you have Nigerian friends to warn you? Asides that, it’s a sad story of betrayal and heartbreak that involves a girl who Moe heard say she was too good for him.
On the one part, it seems Moe intentionally breaks the EP down into two parts, one for the struggle and one for love gone sour. On the other hand, it seems Moe tells one cohesive that sees the struggle turn into success and then love that goes sour. The first theory seems more plausible, however.
That said, while the track list is good the way it is, the one red flag, regardless of which theory it is that the positioning of ‘Mad’ which smirks of awkwardness. It is a story that cautions against the perils of pipe dreams coming after a celebratory song of success.
Equally, ‘Magic,’ a story about finding the good in yourself coming after a story of gratitude before a story of celebration messes up the cohesion of this EP. Instead, I feel this arrangement could have been better;
This way, the story is more cohesive and better. This way, it starts off with caution, moves to finding your magic, then an appreciation God’s work, then to contentment and gratitude with the growth and then to a story of celebration.
I don’t know if Moe really wanted to make an album with cohesive narratives on each part of his album, but dividing the EP to songs about the hustle/success and love seems intentional. When that happens, you might need to perfect it.
Cohesion and delivery
As noted earlier, there seems to be two theories to how this album comes together. But whichever way it goes, it feels like the track list could have been better. However, it’s not all bad, we can still pick and understand what Moe was trying to do, even with the deficiencies of the tracklist. The songs shine through.
The production on this album is near-perfect, but as noted earlier, I would have loved a hint of drums on ‘Magic.’
Execution and Enjoyability
Without a doubt, Moelogo is an exceptional music maker who will probably never make a bad or even an average album.
So generally, I feel the songs were significantly – not totally – well executed. My reservations with the track list are well documented, the production is exceptional and the flow is only hampered by the narrative, especially with the placement of ‘Mad.’
I choose to go with the theory of intentional division of the album into two parts that tell different, yet fundamentally interlinked stories. Follow me…
The theory of separation of ‘Magic’ into two narratives
In some ways, the two parts of a sad and good endings – on each part - might initially seem like a contradiction, but in fact, what Moelogo is saying is that nothing is guaranteed and nothing is ever what it seems.
Thus, the central theme to this project might be uncertainty that preaches the quantum mythical nature of permanence. We can then argue that Magic is just saying, ‘change is constant.’
However, while we never want the bad things, is it then good enough to be constantly wary of even the gleeful times where smile spreads lips from ear to ear?
This is food for thought, but in the end, Moelogo is not trying to be a killjoy or buzzkill that wants to help you manage your joy or project his own experiences on you, he only preaches caution. It’s also noteworthy that Moe started the album with the sad part and ends with the good part that ends in a sketchy manner.
In the end, whichever way you look at it, Magic is a motivational album. Maybe the album title itself points to the circumstantial or even near-unrealistic nature of ‘magic,’ as everything is either logical or uncertain, but I am not in a position to answer that, I have insufficient data.
Some detailed listeners who buy the idea of two narratives/short stories might conclude this album as a contradiction, but I really think it is tabula rasa; a blank slate on which anything can be written; an open-ended question that anyone can work his own version of the answer into.
But note, whichever way you go and on whichever side you fall, you can be sure that at the root of your what you interprete magic to be is positivity either in quantum or as a major part.
The story of central theme that charts self-doubt, struggle, contentment, gratitude, celebration and then to love gone sour
In this light, there is also the theme of caution. The character got rich rich and moved abroad, yet he falls victim to a girl who betrays him and breaks his heart. In this also lies a tale of imperfection.
However, even at that, ‘Mad’ still seems wrongly placed as a story of caution on pipe dreams coming after success. There’s a disconnect.
The detail on and thought-provoking edge to Magic is simply incredible and if I don’t stop typing now, I might turn this into a philosophical and political piece.
• 0-2: Flop
• 2.1-4.0: Near fall
• 4.1-6.0: Average
• 6.1-8: Victory
• 8.1-10: Champion
Themes, Topics and Songwriting: 1.8
Track List: 1.0
Cohesion and Delivery: 1.5
Execution and Enjoyability: 1.4