March was one interesting month as it marked the end of the already six-month break of the Afrobeat music icon, Davido from the social media and music scene after the tragic loss of his son. However, in grandeur fashion, Davido bounces back with an Album ‘TIMELESS’. The album which dropped on the 31st of March was one that was met with massive anticipation and expectations. A culmination of events led to this point and many were eager to listen to whatever Davido had to say.
The stand-out opinion about the album has to be the great increase in the quality of production. The album oozed deliberateness and an organized thought process. This may have also been a ripple effect of the organizational revolution that the DMW label underwent. There was a deliberate turn from a charity and family pattern style to a proper label with various functional departments. Morravey and logo oloris were the two artistes to kick off this revolution.
In the words of Deitrick Haddon on CHURCH ON THE MOON (paraphrased)
Tonight is a celebration and we live to see Davido reach new heights
…. Shall weeeeeee?
Timeless continues Davido’s streak of beautiful intros to his albums. OVER THEM ALL begins with braggadocio and boastful strutting. ‘If them wan turn Goliath, I be David for life’. He alludes to the giant slaying event of David and Goliath. This song is filled with similar lines of contempt for those wishing him bad. As a good ambassador, he also finds a way to smuggle in ‘Martel’. He then picks it up with FEEL, this song in hindsight contains what the rest of the album is all about – production, poise, control, good lyricism, well thought out process, and of course musical additives. Morravey introduces herself ‘IN THE GARDEN’ the new sign-in took control and properly delivered. The initial plan was for her to join the new label and work on herself underneath before she gets revealed, however, her ‘stuuuupiiid’ pen game and unique voice were more than enough to earn her a spot in the album. Once again she delivered the love song with panache and seasoned skill.
GODFATHER should have been after OVER THEM all as it contained the same format of lyrical jabs at his enemies as well as the braggadocio on the former song. Amongst all these it also bore heavy doses of romanticism which would have been the perfect transition into FEEL. One can argue that this may have been done for the fans sending the same tempo songs may be a little boring and be right. ‘Initiating rage process’ continues the amapiano run from GODFATHER. UNAVAILABLE, a quick favorite and a first listen stands out. Musa Keys dazzles through his verse and Davido couldn’t have asked for more. He subtly jabs at the earlier rumors of him being spotted with a woman sometime last year.
“Shey na man wey I for carry
abi e get when I talk say I be pastor”
He shares relationship pain and breakfast on E PAIN ME. The song brings back memories of 2017-18 Davido. AWAY oozes the feeling of ‘the best’ from a better time – a successful attempt at making a hit. One of the songs that snippets were leaked but that alone increased the anticipation for the rest of the body of work. This one was made for clubs and to be blasted at full volume in cars. Since her appearance on PON PON in Olamide’s album, Fave has cut a niche for herself and she once again proved herself on KANTE. She absolutely owned the track and made the job easy for Davido. Davido again reaffirms his love for a ‘big waist, fine face’. The echo from her verses takes gives us a double serving of her voice, then the duet with Davido towards the end of the song. She brought the pressure. Her articulation though throws some words off but she did an amazing job nonetheless.
Cavemennnnn made an appearance. My cavemen fever is no hidden secret and asides from one slightly unnecessary feature they seemed to be allergic to making bad music. The track again reaffirms my suspicion that they have much control over their features. This track embodies tons of indigenous percussion, traditional progressions, and local chants. They tapped into their “love well” assuming the personae of zaddies with a shawty who seems ‘to be all that bag’, they reaffirm their ability and capacity to deliver. On this star-studded Track, Angelique Kidjo shows her Grammy award-winning class as she comes through with her rapid verse and alley-oops to the cavemen for a flourish.
The first 16 seconds and the last few seconds of U(JUJU) gave me goosebumps and a déjà vu feeling of a daft punk-produced song. Young Alpha was definitely in his bag with this production. In this enchanted love song, Davido enlists Nigerian-British ‘Agaracha must come back’ Skepta. ‘Ololade mi Asake’ makes a delightful appearance on NO COMPETITION and like a delivery boy, he comes through. To be sincere, immediately I realized it wasn’t Amapiano I was interested in what Asake would do outside his comfort zone. A line of percussion helps to keep him in his pocket and protects him. I’m running out of words for the production of this album. The second new signing made his appearance in Picasso and all I can say is Wizkid and Davido can kill a song together. The pick and pop they ran in this song were delightful.
FOR THE ROAD, the first pre-chorus which made Davido really dig deep and his singing voice really sounded raspy and coarse nearly turned me off, the sentimental song quickly recovers and becomes a gem. He taps into the Ecclesiastical chorus and delivers a near-solemn song and a contender for the outro. It however sets the tone for ‘LCND-Legends Can Never Die’. He shares his pain in an uncharacteristic upbeat form. He allows others who share his pain to feel and connect on this track. I think I heard child toward the end. A beautiful tribute! The funny twist to this is that the song was not recorded recently…
After the first listen, I had a teeny tiny issue with ending with CHAMPION SOUND as the end, STAND STRONG in my opinion would have been way better for the flourish. CHAMPION SOUND gave off a different vibe from the rest of the album. After the second listen through the album, I felt it could be a message –ending with a high note to indicate and demonstrate progress and Joy. ‘Ten years I’ve never gone down’ actually fits into the timeless essence of the album.
Davido clearly slowed down to occupy that pocket of space between mid-tempo and really fast. For an artiste with so much vocal bubbly energy, he manages to condense that and occupy the half space, doing this allowed him to dwell in those musical sweet spots and adds to the auditory aesthetics.
One more shout-out to the production, it was ethereal from Magicsticks, rage, Darmie, Blaisebeats, 1da Banton, and Caltonic. SA, Young Alpha especially Young Alpha’s work on U(JUJU). This album is clearly Davido’s best in terms of production and finesse. The album boasted of varying sounds –amapiano, highlife, afrobeat. He sounded very mature and in full control, a behavior that allowed his features to flourish- most notably the NA MONEY with Cavemen and Angelique Kidjo. Asides from the placement of Godfather, I was greatly impressed.
One notable feature is the features are generally African; Skepta is a Nigerian-British rapper so technically he doesn’t really count.
To be sincere, the Album while not lacking in lyricism doesn’t necessarily boast or possess thematic or plot depth. The kind of depth that one could feel in Omah Lay’s BOY ALONE reflects Omah lay’s destabilized mental state. However one cannot ask for more because it seems like a monotonous, one-way journey to recovery. In an interview, the artiste said he didn’t see the need to be creative with his situation; the vibes in the studio during recordings were upbeat. Davido filled his album with vibes of hard work and class.
Overall, “Timeless” showcases Davido’s growth as an artist, both in terms of his vocal range and his ability to collaborate with a diverse range of artists. It’s a strong album that reaffirms his position as one of the leading voices in the Afrobeats genre.