The year 2020 has seen releases in albums from Burna Boy’s Twice as Tall to Wizkid’s Made in Lagos, as well as Davido’s recent release, A Better Time. Davido’s album is the last of the trio and it is particularly special because of the anticipation it garnered following the failure of Wizkid’s Made in Lagos to exceed expectations of music lovers. While Burna Boy’s Twice as Tall has enjoyed acclaim, critics have slammed Wizkid’s Made in Lagos as a failed project which took three wasted years to be released. One of these critiques is that of a member of Davido’s crew, Obama DMW, who debased Wizkid’s album as whack. But in spite of the bad blood between them, Davido took to his social media page to congratulate Wizkid on the release of Made in Lagos. Wizkid, however, refused to acknowledge Davido’s congratulatory message which made the Fall Crooner to post on his twitter page, ‘If you don’t like me, your bad vibes…’
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The success of Made in Lagos in music streaming platforms like US iTunes and Audiomack within few days of its release appears to displace criticisms against it. On Audiomack it has recorded over 30 million streams. Wizkid is now the first Nigerian artiste with an album peaking at number 3 in US iTunes highest-charting history. A feat he accomplished with his new album. Many have however rubbished the success on grounds that Wizkid is living in past glory and that the album does not deserve any commendation whatsoever. As such, music lovers turned to Davido as a last resort for an excellent album in the year 2020. Constant calls were made for Davido to release his album for the year. He responded and announced November 13, as the release date. Excitement grew more when he unveiled the track list for the album which showed international artistes like Naz, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, and a host of others.
A Better Time was released in the early hours of Friday, November 13 at exactly 12 AM. But to the consternation of many, the album is just another failed project. While it is too early to give it this description, it is instructive to see it as a Nigerian music review platform describes it:
‘A Better Time’ feels like ‘A Good Time’ with ‘Son of Mercy’ problems. It’s not like there is one song that is inherently bad, but a lot of the songs on ‘A Better Time’ are fundamentally flawed either by delivery, the event of album sequencing – which impacts the enjoyment of music more than almost anything, incomplete production or cliche Nigerian Afro-pop songwriting.’
On this note it appears that the album is flawed. A Better Time is expected to be better as the name denotes, but it is glaring that the past has outclassed the present in a feat of unmatched dexterity. His previous album, A Good Time, is in fact a better album than what Davido did with this sequel. With rare features, A Good Time does outstandingly well when compared with this new album despite the fact that the new album features international acts as guest appearances. A Better Time is another Made in Lagos both of which have failed even though they might do well across streaming platforms. The failure should however be attributed to attempts by these artistes to redefine afrobeats through new patterns and styles, in line with western standards, and in the pursuit of the coveted Grammy award.
Davido had constantly promoted afrobeats and had clarified that he has no interests in the Grammy award like his counterparts, Burna Boy and Wizkid. But it is clear that the reverse is the case as the album is wont to suggest. Perhaps, the impact of the pandemic could also be a contributor for the failure to dish out beautiful, extraordinary music that is often the signature of these artistes.
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