After delivering three projects under the series, an ardent follower might argue that the sound has peaked and there's really nothing new to offer and this lack of freshness might rob it of the grip it has on listeners.
Show Dem Camp serves old wine in new glasses in 'Palmwine Music 3' [Pulse Album Review]
The 'PalmWine Music Series' is a Highlife extravaganza that brings together special talents to deliver feel-good music that touches on everyday conversations similar to the layered conversations that are part of a typical Palm Wine joint.
In 'PalmWine Music 3,' SDC recruits both old collaborators and fresh Afrobeats heavy hitters to light-heartedly discuss the subject of love and relationship in their different variants. While the PalmWine Sound has aged, it's like that of wine and this time, it's delivered in a new glass.
SDC are wordsmiths whose command of words and ability to deliver poetry that captures the essence of a topic while equally exploring its nuances makes them an exceptional duo. This special aspect of their artistry is in full display in 'PalmWine Music 3' where they discuss the subject of love, the ups and downs of relationships, and commitment over the relaxing and camaraderie-inspiring liquid and the Highlife sound that soundtracks it.
Love is a recurring theme on the project as Ghost and Tec shared their desire to give into their feelings and explore love in its all-consuming form like on the Highlife track 'Head over Heels' that features Palmwine Music debutant Victony.
SDC tapped Oxlade for the intoxicating single 'Mine Alone' where they boast of having a girl that's what leaving the streets for and for whom they are made for them alone. In this song, they displayed a readiness to commit and pursue a long-lasting relationship. The song is lifted by Oxlade's ability to effortlessly find pockets and mould melody. Its catchy melody and heavy Pop elements make it a standout single with commercial appeal.
Love sometimes finds people when they're least ready for it and this inevitably leads to heartbreak for one of the parties. "I couldn't be the guy that you need," Tec said in 'WYW' as he narrates his inability to reciprocate the love he was so selflessly given. The vindictive lover was played by Bellah whose delicately laid chorus invokes anathema on the men who hurt her.
In 'Bad Design,' they discuss the ever-present fear of heartbreak that comes with the vulnerability of love and commitment. The reggae record brings together Ghanaian rapper Manifest and Nigerian musician World as they discuss the subject of cruising through the pain of love.
Sex, desires, and lust are part of love. "What's a good time without debauchery," Ghost says in 'Freaky' as they explored the desires that come with love in a smooth Highlife record that uses Mannywellz's chorus to deliver a quintessential palm wine record.
'Old Flame' tells the story of loving someone even after they leave. This enduring message of love is delivered through percussions, Highlife chords, and smooth storytelling.
The Afro-Swing record 'Live Life' feat Tems paints a picture of lovers who want to live in the moment. The feel-good single captures the mainstream appeal the Palm Wine series is meant to offer and this time SDC crafts a song whose elements give it a chance for international success.
As the album ended on a reflective note inspired by gratitude, it had achieved its topical purpose through songs and intermissions that offered both comic relief as well as context. Sonically, its Highlife essence is well captured such that in AfroSwing records like 'Live Life' and 'Apollo' the Highlife can be spotted.
While some of the songs aren't necessarily exceptional, especially as SDC's rap has reached a level of listener familiarity that's difficult to surpass, the performances of some featured artists helped lifted the project. Notably, the performances of Oxlade, Lojay, Tobi, Wurld, Timi Lyre, Bellah, Tay Iwar, and Mannywellz offered the freshness and spice needed to uplift the record.
The importance of the new acts on the record can be spotted when their tracks are compared to that of previous collaborators where the diminishing return of SDC's PalmWine sound could be spotted.
As a project, 'PalmWine Music 3,' was able to maintain the appeal of the PalmWine music series through relatable topics and new voices. However, it also showed the painful predictability that comes with diminishing returns.
So, while there will never be a shortage of topics to explore, the PalmWine series over the course of 4 projects have run through the length of Afrobeats soundscape to merge Highlife with mainstream genres for a sound that has inevitably reached its evolutionary and creative peak.
• 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: 1.7/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.7/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2
Total: 8.3 - Champion
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