Tabula Rasa in Latin means 'blank slate'. On his fourth album, BrymO strives a new template for his musical career. It's not as if his last album was crappy. Merchant, Dealers & Slaves was the best Nigerian album of 2013 according to music critics.
In resetting his game, BrymO has the tall order of topping MDS or at least equalling it. Luckily for him and listeners, the former Choc Boy creates a new album that is as equally outstanding as his third. 11 tracks long, Tabula Rasa sees BrymO expressing his new found freedom at creatively experimenting. MDS was a product of disillusion, and frustration. Tabula Rasa is him running free.
The album starts with 'Back To Love. Led by an optimistic whistle and snaps, BrymO heads back to ground zero- where he feels free to express himself creatively, emotionally and spiritually. He yearns for the simpler things and ultimately love. "Raining way too long/my days are cold, my nights are cloudy/your loving made me strong/I'm coming back to you-coming back to happy" he sings on the track, a backdrop of his new independent freedom.
"Going back to the basics, I am going back to the start, going back to the place where the sun rises at dawn" he announces with his rich, soulful voice.
Love is a strong matter on Tabula Rasa. On 'Fe Mi; BrymO appeals for love- the physical kind (make our body collide. Take a hold on me tonight) he sings on the track which features a laser sharp guitar, and rhythmic claps. The lust meter rises a notch higher on the Afrobeat sounding 'Pr*ck No Get Shoulder', which is a metaphor for enjoying life's pleasures with caution.
It's a brooding and reminiscing affair on 'Dear Child' which sees BrymO exalting the virtues of his grandmother. He dishes out the wise words his matriarch especially on the fickleness of life. Mikky Me's production on this song establishes a going back in time effect which allows BrymO expertly highlight the importance of his grand mum.
On Je'Le O Sinmi his narrative and descriptive skills are on display where he talks about he and his childhood friends disturbing the neighbourhood with their childish games. He delivers this track in his native Yoruba thereby giving an extra layer of depth to the song.
BrymO takes it to the big stage on 'Never Look Back.' His performance on this song is cinematic, perfect as the theme song for a Hollywood war blockbuster. This is one of his best performances as a vocalist. BrymO reveals a new dimension to his voice as he sings "we will never look back" over drums made by Mikky Me that enhances the all or nothing ethos of youth. The song talks about seizing the moment in this cold and wicked life, and the vibrancy of youth.
With heavy claps sings about the unrest of the populace on 'Jungle Fever'. Fever is a metaphor for anger at the status quo. The song has a a very urban and contemporary African edge to it. It's a call to arms and the clamour to stand up for change. "Check your time its free your self o' clock" announces BrymO.
'1 Pound' is another Afrobeat song with trademark horns and meandering guitar licks. Groovy to the last y, BrymO has a strong career at Afrobeat if he ever decides to pursue a career in that genre. 'Nothing's Ever Promised Tomorrow speaks on the uncertainty of life.
BrymO saves the best for last on 'Again'. The song is another haunting grand creation from BrymO and Mikkey Me. It is a huge love song with emotion flying out from the keys, almost weeping if I dare write. This is another spectacular song from BrymO. It's about starting love all over again. BrymO tells his former flame "oh tonight we will fall over again" as a choir like hum creeps in, with grand drums subtly following. "Darling I know you see. The world may bring us down you see, but you make it beautiful for we. And love is a beautiful thing. Let us do it again. Don't let this moment fade away."
BrymO has done it again. He has produced another impeccable album with outstanding quality. His chemistry with his longtime producer has reached a new creative high that has placed BrymO in a world of his own. With Tabula Rasa, BrymO has a brought a new and refreshing album for all us to listen to. Game reset.
Rating- 4.5 out of 5