Afropop sensation, Joeboy, released his much anticipated debut studio album, Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic (SBBM) on February 3, 2020. The album comes as a 14-track pack designed to reaffirm and solidify the artiste’s position as a musical genius. Songs on the album include “Count Me Out”, “Focus”, “Number One”, “Police”, “Door”, “Show Me”, “Runaway”, “Lonely”, “Consent”, “Oshe”, “OH”, “Sugar Mama”, “Better Thing”, and “Celebration”. Just few days following its release, Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic, has already garnered over 10 millions on Audiomack.
The title of this album fits completely with its trailblazing performance. If beauty was music, its personality most probably would be this album, Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic. Veteran music producer, Kel P, noted in an interview with the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs that there are four factors that make any project in the afrobeat music space successful. Number one, he says, is the instrumental (the production). Second is the artiste delivery followed by the artiste vocals and lyrics. Going by this rating, everything that went into the SBBM project was excellently pitched. The production, melodies, lyrics and artiste delivery were topnotch.
Almost like there was a deliberate attempt to make SBBM strike an indelible cord at the heart and mind of listeners with experiences like something heavenly magical. The album is lovably infectious and listeners get caught up between that stellar and paradisiacal space. Joeboy corroborate this when quizzed about what the album feels like prior to its release:
‘It sounds like beauty. It sounds like magic. Anytime I’m speaking about the album, I’m really, really excited because I believe I should have put it out [before], but it was held back due to some delays. That’s why anytime I speak about it; I can’t wait to put it out and let people see and understand what Joeboy is all about.
‘It is an exciting album. It has a lot of smash hits on it. It’s different when it comes to singles. With singles, you have to do it in a particular way, but when you have a body of work, you can try different things. I think this album will showcase my versatility to a large extent.”
Joseph Akinwale Akinfewa, popularly known by his stage name, Joeboy, is perhaps one of the most underrated artistes on the afrobeat scene. Despite hit songs such as “Beginning”, “All for You”, and the earworm with Mayorkun, “Don’t Call Me Back”, Joeboy appears not to have attained much of a height or buzz that accompany musicians with such milestones in hits. This has generated feelings that the “Lonely” crooner is not that good, which often leads to people counting him out. He seems to be aware of this and the fact that he has detractors within and outside the music circle.
Joeboy however responds to all these with the song, “Count Me Out”, which explains why it comes out as the first off the album.
In “Count Me Out”, Joeboy makes it clear that he is not bothered by the question marks on his music prowess. For those who think he is not fit, Joeboy says he doesn’t “send the nonsense” and that he is too blessed to bother at all. In this song, he tells his detractors that the fact that he got to where he is appears as magic, it would go on as he would continue to drop hits and smash hits for that matter. The lines, “…Because I no dey shout doesn’t mean I no know what I am about”, offers a memorable rhyme.
The second song off the album, “Focus” is no doubt a smash hit with an indulging swing inspired by the lead instrument. It is a love song that offers two varying meanings for the word, focus. From the point of view of the artiste, focus illustrates loss of concentration as he struggles with the effects of falling in love. For the personality of his love, the artiste asks her to focus—to be straight to the point in her decisions.
“Number One” is no different from “Focus”. The song which is the third in the pack is a restatement of the artiste’s feelings for the personality of his love. As the title denotes, he makes it known that she is “number one and not number two”. In “Police”, he threatens to call the authorities on her for stealing his heart metaphorically.
“Door”, another love song, wields this mixture of afropop and highlife (afrolife) with a captivating guitar rhythm that indulges the listener in an easy going vibe.
The deployment of African shakers in “Show Me” and “Better Thing” brings a certain level of vibe to the songs.
“Oshe” with its relatively slow tempo but indulging swing carries that soothing feel that appeals to the mind and soul.
Most people try to box musicians. They ascribe a particular genre to an artiste which often limits their craft. Joeboy however shows his versatility with songs like “OH” and “Sugar Mama” on this album.
“Runaway” and “Consent” are not entirely exceptional but have lyrics that appeal to love and lovers.
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His 2020 hit songs, “Lonely” and “Celebration”, follow the album, Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic.
Joeboy is no doubt a hit maker since his breakout song, “Baby” in 2017. His song with Dj Neptune, “Nobody”, is undeniably one of the biggest songs of 2020. In spite of these achievements, Joeboy’s artistic prowess is often relegated but Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic confirms that JOEBOY is not your mate.