Ogranya is one of Nigeria’s most consistent artists. Over the past two years, he has released at least two bodies of work every year. Those bodies of work might be bit-sized experiences in his breezy, drippy and trippy vocal applications, but they are bodies of work, nonetheless. In 2021, he released at least three bodies of work.
Ogranya expands his scope and gaze on 'Festival of The Sun' [Pulse EP Review]
While he explores larger sounds, something seems to be missing on certain songs.
The Port Harcourt-bred artist is part of an eclectic set of artists from that town. In 2020, Pulse likened them to the movement that started in Chicago, circa 2010. His best attributes are his sultry vocals - he possesses a light ease 4th octave that tenors usually possess. He gently sprinkles his beat choices with this voice. He never exerts vocal stress nor does he belt out high notes.
His second best attribute is his boy-ish good looks. On his previous albums, barring the two volumes of Chronicles of Magik - where he explored a more danceable pop-ish brand of Folk music, his music has always been built on Sentimental Ballads and Breezy Folk music, which tends to trigger emotions.
But on his latest EP, Festival of The Sun, Ogranya Jable Osai appears to explore more ‘radio-worthy’ music. While his use of his voice enables him to create a familiar environment, which doesn’t stray away from echoes of his previous work, the music is a little more ‘jolly,’ and groovy.
Some of his features like Johnny Drille, Nvirii The Storyteller, Moelogo and Ghanaian-American singer, Moliy, who recently featured on a Amaarae’s Billboard smash, also seem to corroborate his intention to appease a bigger market.
‘Abeg’ is built on Bashment, ‘I’m Sorry’ is built on Afro-pop with slightly faster-paced Dancehall BPM and R&B synths. ‘Doings’ and ‘Ecstasy’ sound like something that could have been on Wizkid’s recently Gold-certified Grammy-nominated album, Made In Lagos.
There is also the constant use of Nigerian colloquialisms in his lyrics, which also reflects in pungent song titles like ‘Abeg’ and ‘Doings,’ which he delivers more in Pidgin, possibly more than on any of his previous bodies of work.
He also steps away from the bounds of love into the realms of real-life solutions. On ‘Abeg,’ he preaches calm in the face of the storm for adults, who are adulting. But for the remaining parts, he canvasses different aspects of love and romance. ‘Ecstasy,’ which is the best song on the EP, is a sentimental, picture-esque appreciation of elements of love and romance.
‘I’m Sorry’ topically represents its title while ‘Brenda’ seems like the product of a longterm crush. For these reasons, the track list or track sequence is a bit wrong. While it probably represents Ogranya’s state of mind, it doesn’t align with the topical and sonic progression and transition that could have aided the listening experience of his audience.
The tracklist should have been;
A Good Time
The song would have been an adult story about love and personal struggles. It would have told the story of love gone sour, while ‘Abeg’ seeks to preach ease into an unsettled mind, that’s also dealing with life issues, possibly alongside romance-related issues.
That said, the songs aren't as alluring as they could have been. Perhaps, it's because Ogranya has left what many would deem his 'comfort zone' for more risque zones of 'commercial offerings,' perhaps not.
But one thing is clear: Songs like 'Abeg' - despite Moelogo's stellar verse, 'Brenda' and even 'I'm Sorry' seem to be missing something, even though Ogranya masterfully sails through the brilliant Amapiano rhythms and ending guitar chords on the beat, like a season pro. Perhaps, Ogranya and his company should explore placements with South African Amapiano heavyweights first.
These instances then hamper the overall experience of a listener. But if anybody can correct this within the next few months, it's Ogranya. And you can be sure that he will. The exploration of sound was necessary for his incredible talent, as his audience continues to get pan-African, but it just didn't hit the bullseye this time.
• 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: 0.6/2
Songwriting, Themes and Delivery: 2/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.1/2
6/10 - Victory
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