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Dami Ajayi

How do we talk about Songs About U, the sixth studio effort by Banky W, without referencing his current love life?1

We can’t.

This could have worked better as rhetoric, but love songs swell out of reality, experience and conjectures, Mr Wellington must know this too well. If it worked for Usher back when he released ‘Confessions’, it could also work for Nigerians. With his brief but sterling stint in Nollywood, he knows, for sure, that Nigerians live for happy endings. And so the franchise has extended into songs.

When real life starts to mimic a movie, we should remember that Twista and Chris Brown already sang about it in their song, ‘Make a Movie’. Let’s also remember the chemistry of Banky W and Adesua Etomi playing the role of altar-bound lovers in ‘The Wedding Party’. This chemistry has moved beyond cinema screens into real life. Some weeks ago, Banky W proposed, and hashtags ferried it farther than one could imagine.

Banky W’s ‘Songs About U’ is ten songs that last 19 minutes short of one hour. SAU has too many songs for an EP and is shorn of skits which this reviewer thinks may have made the album more visceral. Production-wise, this album is a bit of a let-down. We know heavy beats don’t lend themselves to R & B gloriously, but the beats on SAU are uninspired.

Banky W croons on this album, but not convincingly. This album is b ...

How do we talk about Songs About U, the sixth studio effort by Banky W, without referencing his current love life?1

We can’t.

This could have worked better as rhetoric, but love songs swell out of reality, experience and conjectures, Mr Wellington must know this too well. If it worked for Usher back when he released ‘Confessions’, it could also work for Nigerians. With his brief but sterling stint in Nollywood, he knows, for sure, that Nigerians live for happy endings. And so the franchise has extended into songs.

When real life starts to mimic a movie, we should remember that Twista and Chris Brown already sang about it in their song, ‘Make a Movie’. Let’s also remember the chemistry of Banky W and Adesua Etomi playing the role of altar-bound lovers in ‘The Wedding Party’. This chemistry has moved beyond cinema screens into real life. Some weeks ago, Banky W proposed, and hashtags ferried it farther than one could imagine.

Banky W’s ‘Songs About U’ is ten songs that last 19 minutes short of one hour. SAU has too many songs for an EP and is shorn of skits which this reviewer thinks may have made the album more visceral. Production-wise, this album is a bit of a let-down. We know heavy beats don’t lend themselves to R & B gloriously, but the beats on SAU are uninspired.

Banky W croons on this album, but not convincingly. This album is being marketed as his ‘I-am-falling-in-love’ album and as an avid observer of love, one imagines there must be something in this album that reaffirms this. Love, after all, is an extraordinary feeling felt by ordinary people. It is an emotion that doesn’t lend itself often to description, so that when a musician who has made a decent career of singing about love hits the real deal, he should bring some insight to the table.

That insight is almost achieved on Heaven, a rather pensive love song that asks of the fate of love in heaven (read afterlife). The love that is being questioned is presumably that between Banky W and Susu. This is the deepest Banky W comes to on Songs About U. Sonically, this album is almost business as usual for him. He sings about love, romance and sex. He sings about a love that should be ideally platonic after he and his lover have smashed a few times. He sings about high notes in High Notes. In All I Want is U he sings convincingly, with Mama Afrika, about yards of wife material. You will find a lot more clichés lying around in this album. Frankly, there are a lot of clichés for a 41 minute EP.

Banky W is a gentleman and businessman. He brings both astuteness and meekness to his music. The result is that he knows what has the potential to break the market but in the same vein, he is willing to be as gentlemanly as he can about it. But the thing about matters of the heart is that you need to dirty yourself. You need to dig as deep as you can to find something that resonates with affection in our human experience. Something deeper than the Romeo and Juliet Banky W sings about in Love U Baby.

Songs About U is armchair in its approach about songs and the You in question. Perhaps if this album was about seduction or wooing, we may have had some more acrobatics. Here Banky W is simply saying, I love to love you baby. And we are all smiles, swooned by the visuals from the movie, re-imagining that these songs are songs about us.

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