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Toye

Lindsey Abudei has existed on the fringes of Nigerian mainstream music, an alternative singer with a silken voice and a gift for drawing emotion out of the tiniest notes. While she’d made music on and off since 2011 and even been nominated internationally for her songwriting work (the Prix de Courverts in 2013), she didn’t really make a dent in Nigerian music till 2015 with her video for the album’s first single ‘Out The Magazine’ directed by Kemi Adetiba and featuring choreography by Paolo Sisiano. The song garnered nominations across the board and had many eager for a full-length album.
July 5th 2016, Abudei pulls a Beyonce, announcing her debut album ‘And the Bass is Queen’ a phrase we suspect reference the ability of bass guitarists to ground even the most discordant of songs. With chess analogies and a contender for this year’s best Nigerian album cover, we knew we were in for a treat. We just didn’t realize how much of a treat we were in for.
While Abudei takes a calculated gamble in describing the album as R&B/Soul, And The Bass is Queen is an album that cannot be hedged. With elements ranging from pop-rock, neo-soul and balladry the 12 track album takes us through the wringer and lets us out 50 minutes later, worn, elated and thoroughly sated.
It is somewhat intriguing that the strongest musical influence on this album is Nigerian legend Sade Adu, mi ... Read Full Review

Lindsey Abudei has existed on the fringes of Nigerian mainstream music, an alternative singer with a silken voice and a gift for drawing emotion out of the tiniest notes. While she’d made music on and off since 2011 and even been nominated internationally for her songwriting work (the Prix de Courverts in 2013), she didn’t really make a dent in Nigerian music till 2015 with her video for the album’s first single ‘Out The Magazine’ directed by Kemi Adetiba and featuring choreography by Paolo Sisiano. The song garnered nominations across the board and had many eager for a full-length album.
July 5th 2016, Abudei pulls a Beyonce, announcing her debut album ‘And the Bass is Queen’ a phrase we suspect reference the ability of bass guitarists to ground even the most discordant of songs. With chess analogies and a contender for this year’s best Nigerian album cover, we knew we were in for a treat. We just didn’t realize how much of a treat we were in for.
While Abudei takes a calculated gamble in describing the album as R&B/Soul, And The Bass is Queen is an album that cannot be hedged. With elements ranging from pop-rock, neo-soul and balladry the 12 track album takes us through the wringer and lets us out 50 minutes later, worn, elated and thoroughly sated.
It is somewhat intriguing that the strongest musical influence on this album is Nigerian legend Sade Adu, mirroring her superior vibrato and stellar delivery. However, where Adu’s music is melancholic and universal, Abudei’s is light but introspective and this subtle difference makes a world of difference.
And The Bass is Queen is an album of simple arrangements. It must have been hard, considering the industry where Abudei seeks to build a career but she eschews the wall of sound for subtler sounds, her voice her primary instrument. Guitar licks offer a defiant pluckiness to the most melancholy of songs and Abudei with the best of them, relying on scat performances and octave runs to convey emotion when the words fail her.
But do the words ever really fail her in this album?
Deft songwriting, never heavy or bogged down with needless metaphor, each line a susurrus of sound delivered as though she were right by your ear, whispering sweet nothings. Freedom and I is a defiant ballad, driven by minor notes and unmitigated angst. She sounds the most like Sade Adu in this song, but the softness of this song is edged with the kind of defiant angst you’d expect from Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. This is the anthem of this album, the song you will return to year after year.
Libra Man has the smokey undertones of an India Arie ballad, staccato beats on a snare drum giving a pulse to the song as it conjures seedy underground bars and unrequited love from a Libra man. When You Don’t Drive Me Wild is redolent of Lianne La Havas in its earnestness and maturity in songwriting.
Shoot Them Down coasts along on looping cello notes, while Abudei assures us she’ll kill her darlings even when it’s hard to. Which is why we wonder why she left ‘On the Magazine’ on this album. Don’t get us wrong, it is a great song, but sonically and thematically, it doesn’t sit well with the rest of the album’s smoky underbelly. Each time we listened, it became even more glaring that the song works so much better as a stand-alone single.
It might have taken her six years, but And the Bass is Queen a tour de force, well worth the wait. Dare we say, it’s one of the best neo-soul albums of 2016, anywhere.

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