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Review: Afro-Substance? Burna Boy Serves A Retort To His Critics On ‘I Told Them’



The album I Told Them seems more like a retort to his critics; either constructive or not, Burna Boy went all out to send banters to his critics and in a bid to prove a point, he calls Afrobeat a genre without substance.

That takes us to ask the question what is the song with substance? However, that is not the main aim of this review.

The track “Thanks” with J. Cole is the most talked about as it serves a retort to doubters. The song is about Burna Boy‘s troubles in the music industry, specifically with regard to the politics that exist there. The artist has been accused of being ungrateful to his patrons after getting caught up in heated debates in the past and in the track, he talked about how Nigerians are not giving him his flowers.

By increasing the tempo, the song “On Form” transports us to a world where the emphasis is on having fun and enjoying life to the fullest. The beat is driven by upbeat kicks, which dance in combination with the keys and synthesizer effects. Burna’s lyrics take us into a realm of excess and excesses, with words like ” To ba le Gbemi Debe, I go follow.” Burna’s outstanding synth work elevates the catchy chorus, making it that much easier to commit the tunes to memory. The song’s musical environment undergoes a little transformation midway through, developing with the addition of Dance claps and rattling snares to keep things sounding new right up to the last chorus.

The track On Form is one of the best songs on the album. Expert audio engineering, overseen by Burna Boy himself, ties together inventive production, emotive singing, and fascinating songwriting. The careful arrangement of each layer allows each component to be heard clearly. Vocal effects are used infrequently yet to great effect, elevating key moments. Inventive use of harmonies and supporting vocals that fit in perfectly with the rest of the track.

The song “Tested, Approved & Trusted” is proof of Burna Boy’s extraordinary talent as a lyricist who paints vivid lyrical landscapes to express ideas, feelings, and experiences.. The track Giza with Seyi Vibez shows Burna Boy now has a wider range and more nuanced melodies. He effortlessly shifts between multiple types of speech, showcasing his versatility throughout the album.

Overall, I Told Them is an engrossing read. The album’s variety and entertaining qualities, make it a must-listen.

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