On ‘Born of God,’ Ada Ehi is resilient and grateful [Pulse Album Review]
At some point while listening to this album, an attentive listener realizes that some of the things Ehi says are subconscious; a part of her inner fabric.
Born in Lagos into a family of churchgoers, she started singing and performing in the choir before she was 10. Her humility will make her dispute it, but she was a child star. After she graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the prestigious University of Lagos, she commenced her career in music.
14 years down the line, the child star has blossomed into one of Nigeria’s biggest and most recognized superstars. The secular world might be wilfully ignorant of her exploits, but the larger part of the Nigerian mainstream knows who she is.
In 2019, she was one of the most-streamed Nigerian artists on YouTube and her content continues to rack up the numbers across all streaming platforms.
Born of God is her sixth body of work. The 16-track album spans one hour and 16 minutes. Like a lot of Gospel albums from Nigeria, it is inspired by ethereal spirituality. It’s title is heavily steeped in 1 John Chapter 5:4. The album is a testament to Ehi’s fundamental Christian identity; an evidence of her inspiration and an emblem for her victories.
To Ehi, to be ‘Born of God’ is to have a lot of things in your favour, as well as the confidence to go through life. On the album opener ‘Never Go Down,’ Limoblaize raps, “I know that [God] got my back…”
It aligns with the overall spirit of the album and the resilient nature of the record, on which Ehi proudly sings, “We’ll never go down…”
Like Limoblaize, Ehi’s confidence comes from her place as a human who is ‘Born of God.’
What’s incredibly impressive about the record is its sound, which steps away from the atypical Alternative Rock that’s become emblematic for Nigerian Gospel.
It is a Synth Pop record with an appeal that’s destined to transcend the Church crowd. The same can also be said of the sounds that birth, ‘Now’ and ‘The Bridge.’
The beat for ‘Now’ feels like a beat that OneRepublic, Imagine Dragons or Bishop Briggs will jump at while the beat for ‘The Bridge’ feelss uited to Owl City or Ed Sheeran. Her declaration of love of Christ on ‘Everytime’ also feels One Republic-esque.
Across the rest of the album, she mostly extols God through praise and worship records - sometimes, high praise becomes home to her testimony. But on ‘Everything,’ which has the melody-rich, Alternative Rock sound that’s become emblematic for Nigerian Gospel, she declares the sovereignty and reliability of God.
Alongside the legendary Sinach, she sings about her will to fix her eyes on God. As she ‘Thank[s] God For Life,’ she sings, “My life will always be a testimony…” and then sings aloud, “Hallelujah! Jesus is alive and because he lives, I live...”
Even when she sings about her journey to a ‘New Level,’ she still defers to her maker as she sings that, “Your words give me victory…”
She also relies on the Holy Spirit for that journey as she sings, “The [Holy Spirit] is taking me to a new level…”
She declares that God can never make a mistake, can never lose his way and will never lie. Those words sound familiar, but in the overall context of this album, it means more. Ehi is not a rookie anymore, she is a superstar in the earliest days of her establishment run. After this phase, she will become a kingmaker in Nigerian music.
The songs on the album are meant to underscore everything that’s gotten Ehi to this point. This is a declaration of alignment as the bedrock for the assurance of greatness.
She also declares that God is ‘More Than Enough’ for her, she declares that all power and glory belongs to God on ‘Now.’
She then sings that, “We are filled with his spirit and authority. So in the name of Jesus Christ, the time is now…”
Her words carry more conviction and even when she commonly breathes, it feels symbolic. Such is the depth her words and tone portray. At some point while listening to this album, an attentive listener realizes that some of the things Ehi says are subconscious; a part of her inner fabric.
Her heart is filled with gratitude and this album is a dedication to her maker for giving her all she has.
For this reason, she declares her will to ‘Shine’ aboard an Afro-pop beat which could really crack the Nigerian mainstream, if it’s properly marketed. But the pinnacle of that song comes when Chize sings, “No dey run from darkness, no forget who you represent…”
‘Finally,’ ‘Notice’ and ‘Olodumare’ follow the similar trope of high praise, constructed on Afro-pop. But through it all, the message remains the same. This section just gives the album some variety.
To her credit, the music isn’t all personal, she reserves some consideration for her audience on the Buchi-assisted ‘Congratulations.’ With her knowledge that “God is good,” she declares and professes good things into her audience and congratulates them.
This album has little criticism simply because of the sheer substance it carries. However, some of these things could have been better;
- Even though ‘Shine’ starts the high praise section of the album, it could have come later - maybe even as an album closer. ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Shine’ should have been the final two tracks on this album, from a storytelling point of view.
- One of ‘Finally’ and ‘Notice’ should have been cut and the album might not have missed ‘Today’ if it didn’t make the cut.
- It then brings us to the point of album length. While the Gospel crowd is different and some of these songs were created with the live performance in mind, we live in a streaming era where listeners have shortened attention spans. Some of the songs on this album could have been a lot shorter.
• 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
8.0 - Champion
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