Album Review: Notes on Tiwa Savage’s RED
Tiwa Savage’s second studio album RED was released in 2015, two years after her debut. The album title is an acronym which clearly states the album’s theme: Romance, Expression, and Dance. The album of sixteen tracks features a total of eight artistes, leaving the main act with eight songs which is essentially half of the collection. This is not exactly a brilliant progression considering the fact that her first album of nineteen tracks features only five artistes. This could easily connote underperformance. And, if this is a matter of choice on the part of the artiste, it is, to an extent, an impediment to the high-rating of the album.
The first song Adura, is a cool highlife song with talking drums and bass-guitar melodies complementing the rhythm. African Waist which features Don Jazzy starts with a generic hip-hop beat and ends as Fela’s Afrobeat with full horns, muted-trumpet solos and saxophone riffs for good measure. The song is experimental in both rhythmic and vocal delivery. Here, Don Jazzy’s production makes the first case for the expression which the album seeks to show. In a sense, experimentation is a form of expression and the album scores a point on this. We Don’t Give a Damn, Say It, Go Down and Birthday also fall within this broad category. In We Don’t Give a Damn, the song starts with a martial-like band music which continues into the work, only having its intensity reduced for background effects. Only a skillful and experienced producer with a good ear could have done this. The muted trumpet riffs and Tiwa’s vocal performance seal it as a brilliant work. In Say It, aside the good production, the act’s scintillating melody in the chorus is an overdose of emotions. Tiwa Savage not only has the voice, she also has the melody. Go Down & Birthday tilt towards American Hip-Hop which heavily influenced Tiwa Savage. If anyone is in search of expression in the album, besides the beats, attention should be paid to Tiwa Savage’s vocal delivery. That is the expression.
Romance, one of the main themes of the album comes alive in Make Time, Bang Bang, and Love Me Hard. Make Time and Love Me Hard are reggae love songs. While Keberg Slim’s cool rap in the first is somewhat made conversational by Tiwa’s abrupt responses, the latter is an average work which features 2face. In Bang Bang, Tiwa succeeds in making an emotional song. What makes the work emotional and romantic, beyond her vocal quality and delivery, is her choice of melodies.
Before Nko features D Prince whose performance is good. However, a well-known line from Faze’s Need Somebody is appropriated here and it questions the originality of his delivery. That said, the work is a fine dance music which shows one of the album’s themes—Dance. Other works in this category include Kolobi, Say It, and My Darling.
In conclusion, it is fair to opine that the album generally achieves its purpose. There is romance. There is expression. There is dance. Tiwa Savage can take only half the credit for an obvious reason—the high presence of featured artistes in the album robs her of full credits.