ALBUM: TABULA RASA
Tabula Rasa is a Latin term which means “Clean Slate”, a metaphoric phrase for a fresh start, and Brymo has desperately been in need of a fresh start following the recent troubles his career has faced. After the release of his last album, Merchant, Dealers and Slaves, the court injunctions stopping the sales of the album affected the circulation of the album, and made Brymo take a forced Hiatus from the scene. However, Brymo announced this new album with the single “Fe Mi” released in September 2014. Brymo presents his fourth studio album, a gift to all lovers of good music.
Tabula Rasa is an 11-track masterpiece of auditory art, a delight to people who value and appreciate good music, with deep meaning, and messages. The well produced album is a fine combination of premium instrumentals, stellar lyricism, with mixing and mastering that is nothing short of world class.
Brymo begins this amazing album with “Back to love” as he yearns for the simple things of life, a pretty good way to start an album, as he sings about losing some things close to him, and he wants to go back to those things he has lost. Brymo sings about the good old days, about going back to the simple things, about going back to love. The theme of love continues on “Fe Mi”, as Brymo sings about a girl he is in love with, as he recounts his experiences with her, explaining how the girl treats him nice, in the first verse, then bridges the verses with a chorus asking the lady to marry him, and in the second verse, he tells the girl what he will do for her after they get married, all he asks the girl to do is say yes, and marry him. Brymo channels Fela on “Preek No Get Shoulder” and indeed traces of Fela are evident all over the album in terms of inspiration for the songs. On this song, Brymo is talking to the youth who has come of age. Brymo advises the youth to make his or her choices carefully, as whatever he or she does will affect the way their lives turn out. Brymo flaunts his writing skills on “Dear Child”, and it’s a song that will have you nodding your head, ignoring the explicit content. Brymo pens a befitting tribute to his grandmother, relating the experiences he shared, and the valuable lessons he learnt from her while she was alive. This is one of the most beautiful songs on the album, and a direct opposite to the “Grandpa” track on MDS. This is a song you can replay a thousand times and Brymo’s presentation and delivery on this track is near flawless, contender for the best song of the album. On “Je Le O Sin Mi” Brymo reminisces about his childhood, and the overall idea of this song is the appreciation for the child. Brymo sings about the influence of the parents on a child: Teaching of morals, provision for them, and most importantly, the importance of sending the child to school, which explains the title of the song. Another flawlessly written track by Brymo. In “Never Look back“, Brymo sings for the young and restless youth, and the spirit of never looking back. Brymo tries to motivate the listener never to look back despite what he or she faces in life. Brymo displays his stellar writing skills again on this track, although the song would have been better if the hook wasn’t a one-word hook. Alone is a spoken word appearance by Sammy Sage Hassan. Over a jazz undertone, Sage does what he does best as he takes us on a spoken word journey of beautiful poetry, as he makes us explore his loneliness, after heartbreak. He is alone after the one he loved left him. A wonderfully crafted piece of poetry from one of Nigeria’s Pioneer of Spoken word. On “Jungle fever“, Brymo drops a song for the masses, singing about what the average Nigerian is passing through. Brymo also sings about segregation, corruption, bribery and other problems that plague our country. This song is faster in tempo than any other song on the album, and its difference is shown in the electric guitar undertone. 1 pound is almost alike in concept to Jungle Fever, but the instrumental this time around is different, and Brymo does a good job of making the listener relate to what he writes down, with his wonderful delivery and amazing voice. Singing to his lover on “Nothing’s Ever Promised tomorrow”, Brymo professes his love for her, promising her nothing will change between them if they both stay true to each other. As Brymo brings the album to a slow end on a love letter to a girl, one wonders who this new girl in Brymo’s life could be, because he’s seriously in love with her. Brymo re-professes his love to her, telling her that no matter what they go through, his love will remain strong for her. This is the best love song on the album, and the lyrics will definitely melt any girl’s heart.
The Album, like I said is a genuine gift to all lovers of good music, and a way to show that good music can still come out of Nigeria. If you were looking for a dance track, or the new shoki remix, you looked in the wrong place. After listening to this album, I have only one wish: Asa and Brymo should collaborate on a song please, as after Asa’s album; the next album that can come close to it in terms of the quality of good music is this album. This album is a classic, and with tracks that will get across to the listener. Even if you don’t understand Yoruba, you should look for someone that does to interpret for you, so you can grasp the true meanings of the songs rendered in Yoruba. Brymo, well done!
ALBUM RATING: 9/10