On October 2, 2020, Nigerian singer, Simi reached back into her pot of musical goodies and delivered a six-track EP titled, ‘RESTLESS II.’
The EP commandeers R&B with a dash of electronic wheels and changes dubstep gears for an easily digestible tale of love gone sour. The EP is also a follow-up to her polarizing album, Omo Charlie Champagne. The greatest victory on Restless II EP is the complete change of sound from the trite Oscar-produced Simi sound that formed the basis of the smash hit, ‘Duduke.’
While ‘Duduke’ was a hit, it was obvious that Simi needed a complete change of sound and she has delivered that change of sound in amazing fashion. Most of all, the EP is a lesson in clarity of songwriting without a symbolism/metaphor overkill. It clearly passes its message of terrible timing of affection between an emotional guy and a confused, slightly possessive girl.
On track one, Simi combines Bashment percussion with sumptuous R&B melodies by way of guitars and fading warps to deliver a tale on the downsides of friends with benefits. The guy caught feelings and the girl felt the relationship was, ‘No Longer Beneficial.’
Quick question: Why do people catch feelings in these situations? On ‘No Longer Beneficial,’ the girl - embodied by Simi throughout Restless II EP - is the one who rejects the feelings caught by the guy. But by track two, she seems to regret the events of ‘No Longer Beneficial’ as she seemingly misses the guy.
She makes solemn promises on the Electropop/Bashment ‘There For You.’ Simi sings, “I just wanna be there for you, even in heaven…” That trend continues on the Justin Timberlake-esque R&B record, ‘City Lights.’ Built on Timbaland-esque drums and deft use of background looped vocals, Simi sings, “You changed my life…”
The confirmation of this writer’s conception of the EP comes when Simi sings, “Hard guy don fall, never thought I’d be infatuated like this…” Simi’s character then became ‘Triggered’ after “word on the street” told her that the man she told that their ‘friends with benefits’ situation was ‘No Longer Beneficial’ had “found another lady.”
Wurld plays the guy as the Trapsoul beat finds its beauty in Polow Da Don-esque dark, suspense-themed melodies with deft edges. He simply defends himself that even though he has, “Been around been around the city… it [was a] different life [and] I’m a better man…”
Simi must be praised for this amazing, realistic portrayal of real life in her music. This is what usually happens when a woman rejects a guy without due thought. She realizes her emotions, gets possessive and even gets mad at the guy for trying to move on with his life.
While Simi’s intention for the song is clear for any attentive listener, Wurld’s verse could have better articulated those points - his lyrics seemed generic. Simi’s intention for the sonically brilliant ‘Undeserving’ in the overall spirit of ‘Restless II EP’ is clear. It’s meant to be the moment where the girl gets mad for ‘losing’ something she actually rejected. .
It’s also meant to reveal the emotional toll of terribly-timed feelings of love. If this were about grief, the Trapsoul beauty that is ‘Undeserving’ would be the anger stage. However, it seems the song was recorded on a different mindset and simply made this EP due to the remote link in how the emotional toll is expressed.
The line, “Everyday na one thing or the other, you no see say you put me for trauma… all the shit that you put me through...” feels more suited to travails of an established relationship, not one that’s not even seen the light of day.
Nonetheless, “You still don’t deserve me…” adequately captures the needed emotion that forms cohesion with this EP’s central theme. The girl masked her pain as, “You don’t deserve my love no more…”
Well, the girl Simi embodies is not only possessive, she’s manipulative. As ‘Bite The Dust’ reveals, she didn’t only reject the guy on ‘No Longer Beneficial,’ she gave him her friend instead and he “took her f**king bait…” At 2 am one night, she made a last ditch attempt to salvage the relationship.
On setting him up with her friend, she sings, “You say that I set you up, but you nor be dog o. You could have said no…” Omo, may God save us from Karishika o - women that don’t know what they want when they want it.
She then blames him for moving on, and tries to mask her pain with, “It’s kinda hard to believe now [that] I ever fell for a boy like you. I deserve quality now and you belong to the street now…” Yet at 4 am, she was still outside his door after slamming it close one hour earlier.
Thankfully, Adekunle Gold’s character maintains his masculinity ends with, “AG Baby is not your baby…” Simi’s actual person laughs and replies, “F**k outta here…”
The long and short of all this grammar is that; Restless II EP is amazing - Gosh! Its production is pristine, excellent and apt to convey the emotional leaning of this nuanced story that will be interpreted in different ways by men and women.
Its title ‘Restless II’ is directed at the emotional restlessness of the relationship between the guy and the girl. Despite liking each other, they messed it up with a lack of patience and terrible timing. By so doing, they became the ‘Restless Two’ [stylized as II] - a double entrendre which also means Restless II is a follow-up to Simisola or Restless I.
While the EP will not necessarily have the commercial success of Simi’s opus, Simisola, it’s up there with Simi’s best body of work on the basis of execution. Simi, take a bow…
• 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
Themes, Songwriting, Delivery: 1.7/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.8/2
9.0 - Champion