You know how albums like Wizkid’s Superstar, Mi’s Talk about it, Wande Coal’s Mushin to Mohits etc, are the stand out projects of the first decade of the 2nd millennium? Extreme Music’s nightingale -Simi,may have easily positioned herself as a contender for this 2nd decade with her new album offering which she calls Simisola.
Though 3 years seem like a long time to wait for an album from a talent like Simi, she never left us without a tune in our mouths – everyone seemed perfectly bribed with singles like Tiff, Jamb Question, her collaboration with Falz on Chemistry EP and all her other stellar feature appearances.
Oh well, the album is finally here and of course everybody wants to find out if it lives up to the hype that has been built up for so long.
Love is the ribbon in which this 15-track parcel is wrapped in. Besides track 3- Aimasiko– which talks about God’s timing and patience, and Hiphop hurray which is what you get when Simi creates an urban party track, everything else is purely about the good, the bad and the diverse nature of the most complicated emotion of all time; love.
The first track Remind Me, sets the mood for the entire album which is subtle and smooth yet heavy with such sublime quality.She seems in the middle of some sort of internal housekeeping as she confesses to selfishness and selfish interests instead of loving her neighbour as herself. She is apparently in a conversation with God, asking him to remind her how to love not only herself and hers, but everyone else.
She dives from humanitarian love into correct romantic love real quick as seen in Joromi which was her last single before the album came rolling in. Joromi simply shows Simi as that non-conformist who is not about to die in silence because society frowns upon women shooting their shots first at men they like.
Aimasiko as I mentioned earlier is one of those songs that spread the message of hope to everyone struggling with one need or another. The hook is derived from Ebenezer Obey’s 80s hit track which shares same title. I am not very sure but I think I may have heard Adekunle Gold in the back up somewhere. This one just like Remind Me, seems quite faith based which doesn’t come as a surprise, considering that Simi used to do gospel. Regardless though, this one will be a returning visitor to quite a number of Yoruba parties for a while.
Complete Me tows the same romantic lane as Joromi but projects Simi in all her vulnerability as a woman who is helplessly in love, using very strong lyrics to convey how deep this love thing can actually go.
“If I no get you, is like the sun without the light
Is like the moon with out the night
Cos I need you in my life oh oh oh
If I no get you, it’s like faith without belief
Like a heart without a beat, what’s a heart without a beat o”
Gone for Good presents another facet of love, but this time, the ugly side. Simi takes us through a goose-bumpy story of a person who is torn from a rollercoaster of breaking up and making up. Errr I think I heard Adekunle Gold in the background of this one.
Self love, confidence, contentment and originality is the next level Simi takes us to, sailing calmly on a jazzy and springy afro pop soul instrumentation in the ultra feel good Original Baby.
…I come in Peace and I am at peace and that’s all I need Eh eh
Everything is not for everyone and that’s okay Eh Eh
Better take me as I am, I’d be better but never gonna be somebody else…
The coin is flipped again as she sensually rides the dancehall flavored beat of One Kain, singing of insecurities and assumptions and catching dangerous feelings. This one leaves some nostalgic after-taste especially the parts where she incorporates lyrics from Diana King’s popular back in the day rave La-la-la-la-lies.
Take Me Back in the best way put, is Simi and Adekunle having having vocal $ex over airwaves really. Lol. Just like the Gold album which features only Simi on the eight track, No Forget, Adekunle is the only guest on this eight track of Simisola (Can these guys just get married already?) In a soft as silk manner, these two go back and forth in a conversation, calling each other special names as they sort out a relationship hiccup with us-their listeners, as witnesses. Yo, the horn interlude in this song is everything…This easily makes my top 3 favorites.
“Take me back, Shakara is over”
The mushy mood is lifted and replaced with a very descriptive piece aptly called Owanbe. This one explains the deep love that the Yoruba folks have for lavish parties as well as comic references, describing the silly lengths that they would go just to be in attendance of these gatherings.
Smile For Me kickstarts The last phase of the album which contains all of Simi’s singles that we already know but she carefully sneaks in Angelina and Hiphop Hurray in between them to break the boredom that might come with the familiarity of the songs to listeners.
Angelina is yet another one with some soft ragga influence that sees Simi addressing a cheatuation experience that she badly never wants to relive while Hiphop Hurray is that feel good jam that will be well embraced in house parties and other related gatherings.
Love Don’t Care and Jamb Question help to ease the project out with the ever so lovely and adorable Tiff, serving as the final closing remark of the project.
This album is definitely in a class of its own by quite a number of standards. The overall production once again, reminds us of the importance of a deep chemistry between producer and artiste -Simi and Oscar -as well as Simi’s impressive skill of mixing. All other production contributors held their parts down also, making the project a very well knitted ensemble. Lyrically, Simi is not the one to make you sit beside a dictionary but she has over time proven her ability to convey her message in the simplest and most comprehensive manner. Truth be told, this project is not for everyone. Listeners who get their high off the current domineering pon pon afrobeat style might not be instant fans but if you are into 90s R&B and have an ear for Highlife and Juju, you shouldn’t have any reason whatsoever to skip any track.
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