On ‘About Guilt,’ Nneka connects hurt, guilt, healing and love [Pulse EP Review]

This is an amazing EP: an astute experience in searing musicianship.

Nneka - About Guilt. (TBD)

A week ago, German-Nigerian singer, Nneka released her 9th studio body of work, About Guilt EP. The EP is created around dark and morose topics around corrective measures, love, loss, betrayal and break up. The story is told via vivid storytelling and specific quotes, which gives picture-esque effect to unsavory emotional situations.

At its most positive, ‘Love Supreme’ is a reckless, almost naive declaration of love, complete with the riveting innocence of unkind romance. The rhetorics flow in and out of Nneka’s choice of Nigerian Folk, but her voice is like a Mesh for it all.

At the centre of ‘About Guilt EP’ is its eponymous track, through which Nneka seems to her battle between forgiveness and pain, possibly as a woman scorned. She seems to document the after effects of cheating.

The music is characterized by avant-garde Alternative music, backed by chaotically beautiful percussive sections and infectious instrumentation, which perfectly syncs with the drums.

On ‘With You,’ R&B/Soul collides with Quiet Storm, as Nneka’s voice grips a listener and leaves them powerless, like a human in the wraps of an anaconda. As she deals with her pain, Nneka and her partner try to fight and heal. They place God at the centre of everything, hoping for divinity.

‘Tea?’ seems like the subterfuge of ‘Netflix and chill,’ which single people use as an excuse to connect. She uses Afro-infused R&B/Soul to chronicle the hots she has for a lover, with whom she recently connects. But what’s unclear is if the lover is the same one from ‘With You’ and ‘About Guilt.’

It’s also unclear whether Nneka and the lover spent time apart to heal, and now they’re using ‘Tea?’ as a metaphor: a precursor to an inevitable romp.

If the love is the same, the ‘This Life’ represents the moment of forgiveness for Nneka’s character.

Due to the presence of ‘Love Supreme’ in its pure declaration of love, which represents a divider: a representation of certainty, amidst a dark emotional turbulence, it’s unclear if Nneka’s five tracks on this EP are an anthology of different stories which centre around, guilt, healing and love, or whether they uniformly chronicle different sides to one story.

If it’s the latter, then the story seems to be a story of hurt and guilt to the point of healing on ‘This Life,’ while ‘Love Supreme’ represents a moment of realization, which reminds Nneka’s character of the love she feels.

Regardless, this is an amazing EP: an astute experience in searing musicianship. However, sometimes the music is so wrapped up in symbolism, that it gets hard for a listener to adequately follow, understand and interpret her stories. But it does feel intentional, like a Kendrick Lamar-esque tendency to make a listener's mind work.

Ratings: /10

• 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: 1.8/2

Themes and Delivery: 1.8/2

Production: 1.9/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.8/2

Execution: 1.5/2

Total:

8.2 - Champ

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