Savage's 'Utopia' is Nigeria's album of the week [Pulse Album Review]

‘Utopia’ is built on multidimensional sonics and different themes

Savage - Utopia. (TBD)

Savage is not like Burna Boy, neither is he a master of vocals. Technically, he is not the greatest either. But at understanding and applying sonics, his level of mastery scares this writer. From merely listening to his album, a listener can tell that Savage loves music. If he quits music, he should have an amazing career as an A&R.

He’s like a bridge between D’Banj and Davido. On the Banga side, he is not vocally strong, neither is he technically impeccable. But he has just about enough of both traits to produce great music. On the application side, he is similar to Davido. He loves, knows and understands the craft of making music.

Importantly, he has an incredible ear for amazing beats across all genres and records like ‘Rosemary,’ ‘Buttons,’ ‘Blow Me Away,’ ‘She Knows’ and ‘Freaky’ prove it.

‘Rosemary’ is led by minimalist percussion, staccato strings and a deft use of bass by Tempoe, then elevated by Victony. Blow Me Away’ is built on this passive violin arpeggio and Bashment drums while ‘Freaky’ is a Wizkid-esque type of production.

He also understands what every beat needs. The best thing about Savage is that he’s managed to look amazing while doing the barest minimum to any beat. It’s an amazing skill because tons of artists are out here doing too much. Solo efforts like ‘Freaky’ and ‘Blow Me Away’ are a lesson in the beauty of simplicity and minimalism.

Even if he used songwriters on this album, delivery and personality separates superstars from amazing songwriters. Anybody can write an amazing song. But can you deliver it? Savage definitely can.

Utopia is his debut album and it dropped on October 15, 2021. But before then, he became one of the year’s most alluring Nigerian prospects after he released ‘Confident’ featuring Buju.

Speaking with LootLove on Apple Music’s Africa Now Radio, Savage says that, “My producer, that's Tempoe, he just did his thing, called up Buju to do the magic and everything just happened. The song is pretty clear. We're talking about this girl and all of that, but at the same time, we're trying to promote African confidence. And we made magic.

“I get little messages every day, the tags, everything. And the other time I was in the mall, I went to Starbucks to get something. And in Starbucks they write your name on the cups and all of that. And she was like, "What's your name?" I said, Savage. And she was like, Yeah, the "Confident Savage?" I'm like, yeah. She's like, "Are you serious? Let me take a picture then. Let me take a picture." It's so crazy. It felt good.”

‘Utopia’ is built on multidimensional sonics and different themes. ‘Pariwo.’ ‘So Real’ and ‘Hard’ feel like Rap records. ‘Mana Gyalis’ is a Dancehall record. ‘Blow Me Away’ and ‘Freaky’ are Afroswing. ‘Buttons’ is LatinPop. ‘Rosemary’ is R&B by way of Afro-pop. ‘Confident’ is Afro-pop.

Despite the varying genres, the EP is tied together by a beautiful sonic cohesion, led by the midtempo pace of all records. The sonic diversity of and features on the album suggests that Savage's team targets a dense brand for him; Nigerian mainstream and Hip-Hop community, the UK, ladies and other parts of Africa.

On creating the EP, Savage tells Lootlove that, “Honestly, I feel blessed because, the truth is, I never expected it to go this well. I’m just dumbfounded. I put in a lot of work and all of that, and I just laid it out and, yeah, everything came out properly.”

Topics addressed on the album are attraction, love, infatuation, romance, sex, unfaithfulness and more. There are the odd lines or weird lyrics here and there, but the biggest downside of this album is the lack of correlation between album title and the music.

While ‘Utopia’ might relate to Savage’s current life, his music is a mix of different emotions; sex, romance and a touch of dystopia for ‘Rosemary,’ because ‘Mana Gyalis.’

FYI: ‘Mana Gyalis’ means ‘Man is Gyalis.’ And ‘Gyalis’ is the island description for a fuckboy.

The better track listing, the album could have still aligned with ‘Utopia.’ This should have been its tracklist;

Rosemary

Buttons

Pariwo

Blow Me Away

Confident

She Knows

Freaky

Hard

Mana Gyalis

So Real

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: 1.5/2

Themes and Delivery: 1.5/2

Production: 1.9/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.8/2

Execution: 1.5/2

Total:

8.2 - Champion

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