Toxic sweet would denote a love so painful and harmful yet so gratifying that the pain becomes bearable. Subjects like this have been somewhat of a recurring theme amongst emerging music stars in Afrobeats who are increasingly adopting a "toxic approach" to romantic endeavors.
Ayüü shares his version of a bittersweet romance in 'Toxic Sweet' [Pulse Album Review]
Ayüü is one of the Alternative artists whose talent is adding some complexities to the Nigerian music scene. In his new album 'Toxic Sweet', he combines the stimulating cadences of mainstream genres with the artistic freedom of Alternative music to create a curious sound whose melody is gratifying but whose lyrics are likely lost on the average listener.
In 'Toxic Sweet', Ayüü wishes to convey his version of an imperfect love that's driven by sexual conquest, lust, and bitter-sweet romance. And he does this with a smooth melody and a swaggering delivery albeit with a mumbling style that makes it hard to point out his words.
The album opens with the Dancehall rhythm 'Serpent' which Ayüü uses as a metaphor for a temptress with whom he wishes to engage in a twirling sex dance. His Dancehall flows are smooth as he adopts a Pop rap style where the rap is mumbled to deliver the tingling effect of a sexually charged rendition.
The Dancehall rhythm continues on track two 'Makarena' where he talks about a love driven by noncommitment, sex, and drugs. The writing is very Jamaican as it carries patois elements and a breathless style of delivery. The melody uplifts the song even as the content might be lost on the average listener who might struggle to make sense of the words.
"Cuz baby you toxic and baby you know it," Ayüü says on 'Toxic Sweet (Self Righteous)' where he confesses to being locked in a toxic love affair yet he's contended in the imperfections as long as they retain enough self-awareness not to become self-righteous. He switches to R&B and extends his vocal cords to deliver a smooth chorus that shows the elasticity of his talent which makes it easy to glean from mainstream sounds.
The underlying theme of love driven by feverish sexual desires runs through the album. In 'ViceV Versa', he talks about an imperfect relationship where both parties have one foot out the door but is kept together by an explosive sexual affair. Like all the songs on the album, a listener might need to read the lyrics to make sense of the song.
In 'Guns&Roses' and 'High Road', Ayüü combines English and Pidgin to deliver AfroPop records. In 'Guns & Roses' he talks about falling for a woman whose love he couldn't trust and had to question before she drives him to the edge. In 'High Road', he says "I need space in my high road" he says as he shares that he's tired of being the bigger person while demanding that he be left to be himself. While the sonics are free of the overburdening elements of Alternative music, the writing is quite complex as simple things are said in a needlessly complicated manner which is another marker of Alternative music. This makes the music niche as it will take deliberate listeners to search for the meaning needed to enjoy the music.
In '2Much' whose beat is quite similar to Maleek Berry's 'Kontrol', Ayüü talks about the contagious nature of the toxicity of his love interest rubbing off on him. He switches to Hip Hop in 'H.M.T (How Many Times)' which may be the best track on the album. He lays a smooth melody complimented by Wolff's rap as they discuss the lies of a two-timing lover.
Smooth chords and riffs combine for 'Toxic Sweet PT. 2' where Ayüü switches to R&B to own up to his weakness of being an assuming lover. A defense mechanism developed from successive toxic relationships. It's toxic love and he knows it but he can't help himself even though his feelings are true.
While 'Toxic Sweet' doesn't carry the overburdening sonic elements of Alternative music that sets it apart from the mainstream music from which it's gleaned, Ayüü adopts a complex writing style that is a marker of Alternative music.
His delivery is smooth but his words are difficult to point out for a better part of the album and it will require reading the lyrics to understand the content. While this style is catchy, it can be exhausting for the average listener.
The album explored Dancehall, Pop, R&B, and Hip Hop in discussing the different aspects of toxic love which are all brought under the Alternative soundscape through Ayüü writing and delivery as opposed to the musical composition.
Overall, 'Toxic Love' is an album whose theme and musical composition provide mainstream relatability but whose writing and delivery make for a niche project primarily made for Alternative listeners.
• 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
Album Sequencing: 1.6/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.5/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2
Total: 7.8 - Victory
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