ADVERTISEMENT

‘Old Romance’ is a lot of ‘Tekno’ [Pulse Album Review]

Kudos to Tekno’s A&R, who tries to find a conceptual nexus/central theme for this album. It ties into Tekno’s strengths as an artist.

Tekno - Old Romance. [UMG]

He followed it up with singles like ‘Rara’ in 2017 and a few sleeper hits in 2018. Illness struck his vocal cords and he slowed down until he returned with ‘Agege’ and the smash, ‘Skeletun’ in 2019. As a producer and multi-instrumentalist, Tekno has an uncanny understanding of music and sounds.

He has never been the greatest storyteller, neither has his music ever been about astute songwriting. What he excels on has always been his ability to produce the appropriate bits of onomatopeia, vibes and social media bars that make songs resonate. He’s the bridge between Wizkid and Kizz Daniel - a cross-section between vibes and would-be substance.

ADVERTISEMENT

After numerous announcements, teasers and postponements, Tekno is finally here with his debut album, Old Romance. The 14-track project is a 40-minute love story; from an encounter into a relationship, roadblocks and then the breakup - with a key focus on the peculiarities of African relationships.

‘Sku Sku,’ which is the Nigerianized version of ‘Skr Skr,’ fuses Afro-pop percussions with Kid Ink-esque Hyphy melodies. It was meant to be the the moment Tekno met the girl who is presumably a foreigner. What gives Tekno away is the line, “Follow me to Africa, meet my father, meet my mother, come meet my people…’

It also subtly hints at the overall ‘classic African relationship’ perspective that this album is built upon.

ADVERTISEMENT

While parts of the album witness improved songwriting from Tekno, the UMG artist largely remains the same - a lot of vibes, subtexts, onomatopeia and social media bars. Encapsulating the song is the atypical Tekno track, ‘Tumbo.’

It helps Tekno whisper sweet garbage in the ears of his love and his listeners - but e make sha. Alongside ‘Uptown Girl’ and ‘Catalia,‘Tumbo’ represent the infatuation moment for Tekno, as he repeatedly appraises the woman’s body and beauty.

‘Uptown Girl’ has to go sha, it’s a substandard Amapiano record that Tekno attacked from an excessive Afro-pop perspective, not the style the beat required. ‘Addicted’ is where he falls in love and ‘Designer’ is where he starts to shower her with gifts. ‘Family Issues’ sees Tekno’s love life encounter problems with his mother’s preferences or lack thereof.

After that, it becomes unclear what the album tries to achieve. This writer wanted to assume that maybe the wedding did go ahead per ‘In Love,’ with ‘Neighbour’ as the wedding reception and ‘Armaggedon’ as the wedding night, but by ‘Dana,’ Tekno sings, “Oh Dana, I want to marry you…”

ADVERTISEMENT

Nonetheless, one can definitely conclude that the relationship ends in tears. Apparently Tekno wants to ‘Enjoy’ himself, which leads to an ‘Ugly Parade’ of infidelity before he reels from his ‘Mistakes’ - a good record. However, its overall spirit doesn’t seem to agree with the concept of this album.

Kudos to Tekno’s A&R who tries to find a conceptual nexus/central theme for this album which ties into Tekno’s strengths as an artist. This concept serves as a safety net that ensures that this album is never going to be poor. Tekno already makes a lot of - love - songs about women. Even when he’s not singing about women, he ends up making references to them.

However, ‘Old Romance’ could have been executed better with better album sequencing and replacements of certain songs.

‘Old Romance’ has its bright spots. Records like ‘Armaggedon,’ ‘Catalia,’ ‘Family Issues,’ ‘Designer,’ and ‘Mistakes’ have immediate resonance and desired shock value. But at first listen and for the most part, the album feels excessively ‘Tekno.’ Only on further listens do tracks like ‘Tumbo,’ ‘Dana’ and ‘Designer’ standout, purely on their strenghs.

ADVERTISEMENT

Across the album, Tekno is at his lyrical finest whenever he speaks carefree, attractive vulgarity with amorous intent, like the Nigerianized version of Jarule-esque Irv Gotti-produced gangster R&B-Hop.

On the mid-tempo Benjamz-produced, horn-heavy Afro-pop record, ‘Dana,’ Tekno sings, “I nor go lie o, I want to pull your pant o… If you give me, I go pariwo. With your fine face, I want to marry you, I go give you belle… Open your pant…

On the mid-tempo ‘Designer,’ Tekno expresses confidence with, “E nor matter the money, my baby nor go give her pussy to nobody. Some of these b*tches are loyal…

It feels original, pure and true. It is also evocative for how he uses these instances of vulgarity to speaks languages of love, not ‘demonic languages’ of a Yoruba man. ‘Ugly Parade’ also sunds dope in its Afrobeat-essence, but it could have done with a D’Banj feature.

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite the highs of this album, it suffers on the basis of an overly familar formula and Tekno’s lack of needed evolution. ‘Dana,’ ‘Tumbo,’ ‘Addicted’ and ‘Ugly’ are styles, modes of delivery and sounds that Tekno has explored and drained.

A lof of these problems of familiarity have to do with the beats Tekno chose. Most of the sounds on this album are what we expect from Tekno.

Even Spax went into a Tekno’s universe with his work, rather than bring Tekno into Spax universe of explorative sounds for balance. ‘Armaggedon’ is a record that balances echoes of Tekno’s universe with a little twist and we didn’t get enough of that.

ADVERTISEMENT

Instead of promoting sentiment, the album largely leads to enjoyable constipation. Even though the appreciation of those standout songs on ‘Old Romance will be there, it is unlikely to break the glass ceiling towards excellence.

Aside from the aforementioned moments of attractive vulgarity, Tekno largely says nothing profound - even though the album follows a concept. We know she’s beautiful, we know you love her and you want to spend money on her and let her meet your mother. Okay, what else?

Instead, he kept recycling those lines and formulae over and again.

It gets so bad that though ‘Family Issues’ was meant to be the moment where Tekno’s mother kicks up a fuss against his girlfriend. Yet Tekno opens the song with another cliche, “E dey be like dem pour me holy water, she fine pass mamiwater…”

ADVERTISEMENT

‘Puttin’ and ‘Skeletun’ should have also made this album. Alongside ‘Armaggedon,’ they are the best pieces of music that Tekno has made in two years. ‘Puttin’ could have served the purpose of the wedding night, in light of the vulgarity of ‘Designer’ and ‘Dana.’ Skeletun’ could have also replaced ‘Enjoy.’

Tracklist

Sku Sku

Tumbo

ADVERTISEMENT

Catalia

Addicted

In Love

Designer

Puttin

ADVERTISEMENT

Family Issues

Neighbour

Armaggedon

Dana

Skeletun

ADVERTISEMENT

Ugly Parade

Mistakes

As for the artwork for 'Old Romance,' it feels like an over-ideated concept of romance.

Ratings: /10

• 0-1.9: Flop

ADVERTISEMENT

• 2.0-3.9: Near fall

• 4.0-5.9: Average

• 6.0-7.9: Victory

• 8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

ADVERTISEMENT

Album Sequencing and Tracklist: 1.4/2

Songwriting, Themes and Delivery: 0.5/2

Production: 1.5/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.2/2

Execution: 1.0/2

ADVERTISEMENT

Total:

5.6 - Average

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.
ADVERTISEMENT

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Nigerian celebrities perform 'We Are The World' to mark Children's Day

Nigerian celebrities perform 'We Are The World' to mark Children's Day

Sugarbana releases new EP titled 'ASHES'

Sugarbana releases new EP titled 'ASHES'

I low-key feel I make the kind of music she will like - Ayra Starr on Rihanna

I low-key feel I make the kind of music she will like - Ayra Starr on Rihanna

Ayra Starr closes in on Tyla's Spotify African record

Ayra Starr closes in on Tyla's Spotify African record

Kunle Afolayan says he once took a bank loan to make a film in new interview

Kunle Afolayan says he once took a bank loan to make a film in new interview

Charly Boy faces backlash for saying Wole Soyinka has a 'brain disease'

Charly Boy faces backlash for saying Wole Soyinka has a 'brain disease'

Bob Marley's Grandson teases remix of his hit single featuring Burna Boy

Bob Marley's Grandson teases remix of his hit single featuring Burna Boy

Sophia Momodu slams Davido's aid for suggesting he paid for their daughter's travels

Sophia Momodu slams Davido's aid for suggesting he paid for their daughter's travels

'Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti' makes ₦71 million at the box office on opening weekend

'Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti' makes ₦71 million at the box office on opening weekend

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT