Nigerian Neo-Soul and Blues musician Lindsey Abudei has recently released her long awaited LP …And The Bass Is Queen, and it is unlike anything I have heard from a body of work birthed in Nigeria. But then, that’s what fans expect from Lindsey Abudei.
Making the decision to be a professional singer and songwriter from the young age of 17, the Nigerian soul songstress has been on several projects and collaborations with big names of Nigerian music, including the likes of Jesse Jagz and M.I Abaga of Chocolate City.
Employing a sound very reminiscent of Corinne Bailey Rae, and Norah Jones, Lindsey scales on a range of themes on her new album, from love to stories about growing up in the harsh realities of life. Songwriting is the arguably the main ingredient here, as the poetic lyrics paint a personalised image for its listeners.
Produced primarily by Atta Otigba, there is a remarkable consistency of live instrumentation throughout the entire record, which I can safely presume is deliberate. This live album feel is what crowns its unique sound and a refined end product, in turn showing off Lindsey’s vocal prowess.
The LP begins with “Have You?”, as its enchanting grand piano arrangement keep you anxiously waiting for the vocals that are guaranteed not to disappoint. Asking questions, to which we can all reply ‘yes’ and certainly relate to, the song, which is less than two minutes long, whets our appetite for the rest of the record.
Old fans of Lindsey will be pleasantly surprised and feel right at home as the appetizer that is “Have You?” ushers us into the revamped version of an old single titled “Drift Away”. Advantageously different from the original which was released in 2013.
The song is stripped of a lot of production, deliberately putting Lindsey’s memorable vocals in the spotlight as it should be, giving the track a nice acoustic ballad vibe. Her voice is resonant enough, that you might not miss the charming harmonies and ad-libs of the original, but you definitely cannot ignore its absence.
“Out The Magazine” is the LP’s sunrise track. It is another old single that has been revamped for …And the Bass is Queen. The happy go lucky piano chord progressions and the unmistakable warmth and texture of Lindsey’s voice, make this tune stand out from the rest of the LP. I predict this old timer will stand the test of time and become a classic favourite for many, after being featured on this project.
“Libra Man” and “When You Don’t Drive Me Mad” are drenched in harmonies and ad-libs that will leave you in a trance, while “Freedom And I” continues in keeping with the theme of amazing harmonies and ad-libs, but also delivers on a poignant lyrical showing from Lindsey, backed by stabbing bass guitar licks and piano arrangements, plus complementary acoustic guitar accompaniments.
“High” sees Lindsey delivering one of her best vocal performances on this album, and “Scream At The Sun” boasts of unexpected dips and turns, giving the melody an edge over other tunes in the same genre. This would have to be my personal favourite on the LP.
On the other hand, the lyrics on “Apologise” are oh so deep, the record is almost undeserving of worldly affection, I am convinced it is a very spiritual track, while “Home(Free)” and “Shoot Them Down” both sound like something out of Beyonce’s latest album Lemonade, with very powerful and pure rhetoric.
With this …And The Bass Is Queen record, Lindsey obviously shows off her capacity to create excellent music and deliver quality lyrical content, something the Nigerian music scene, saturated in Afro Pop, is not investing into enough. She shows us that truly, ‘less is more’ and ‘simplicity is key’. I wouldn’t recommend this album be played in the car just for playing sake or on a night’s out, but it’s definitely a beautiful body of work to soak in properly, in the comfort of your own home.
The album doesn’t really have a climax to the soothing pleasure it gives off. I believe this climax would have been reached if another genre of music, had been introduced somewhere in the production. Nonetheless, it is obvious that this climax wasn’t in her plan, whether for pure listening sake or to attract a larger audience, as apparently the quality of her audience is much more important to Lindsey Abudei than the quantity, and I respect her for that.