Seven years after the release of his peerless debut, “Mushin to Mohits,”- a classic album in its own right- Wande Coal (WC) finally put out a conveniently titled sophomore, ‘Wanted,’ to a rousing reception. Of course, his fans wanted it. I wanted it. But what did we really want? Naturally, WC fans (with our rose-colored glasses firmly in place) wanted or were hoping for another M2M: an album whose critical acclaim and staggering commercial success remained the key factor in the sustained anticipation for WC’s follow-up seven years later. Yes, like most fans, I too was hopeful. But no, I wasn’t hopeful that it would be on the same lofty perch as his debut, but hopeful that it would, at least, be a savoury respite from the string of dismal releases the industry has endured this year.
So, ‘Wanted’ kicks off to a thankful start with ‘Adura,’ a jaunty record with a lot to recommend it: vibrant beat, good rhythm and beautiful singing. ‘Adura’ is a great album starter. And in case you still need persuading about WC’s vocals, ‘Superwoman’ will certainly clear your doubt. ‘Superwoman’ is a silky smooth ballad laced over an unassuming XelaXelz beat that allows WC’s amazing vocals to shine; and shine, it did. Fine music!
‘We ball,’ ‘Same shit,’ and ‘Monster’ are all decent songs leading up to the skit by Falz. The Falz skit was the second of four disposable skits on ‘Wanted.’ Like all the other skits, it could have been executed with a little more finesse. Adding an interviewer to this particular skit, for instance, would have made a world of difference. Moving on, the title track, ‘Wanted,’ produced by MajorBangz was a disappointment because of the levity with which the song was handled. MajorBangz, to my mind, simply yanked Phyno’s vocals off ‘Parcel,’ did some cosmetic substitution on what was left and served it up to the unsuspecting Wande, who rambles so much about having money that one begins to doubt he really got it. ‘African lady’ was anything but special, just some hackneyed lyrics on boilerplate beat.
The dream collaboration between WC and Tuface, ‘Make you mine’ didn’t quite take flight. Such a shame. And frankly, the ‘Wanted’ album descends into remarkable depths of mediocrity from this point. The corny titles that follow are telling enough: Jelly, Iyawo mi, kpono, Lowkey (WC come on, another lowkey song that still says ‘let me give it to you lowkey’ in 2015?). However, among this contemptible lot, ‘Kpono’ deserves special dishonourable mention for the effort that must have been expended to birth such inanity (P.S: Wizzy was in fine form). Finally, King Spesh puts in a good word for the album to signal the end. By the way, thanks for the special shoutout Spesh, your fada too!! Lol.
Hollup! the album doesn’t quite end there. ‘Wanted’ includes two previously released singles as bonus tracks, and they are my favourite songs on this album. They are a sad pointer to what might have been another awesome album with a little more diligence from Wande Coal. The ‘Amorawa’ beat IS EVERYTHING!!! Both Wande Coal and Burnaboy gave a solid account of themselves and I love it!! Big shoutout to Leriq for this one. ‘My way’ is my overall best song on this album. Again, beat, songwriting, vocal delivery, arrangement, excellent! Massive shoutout to Wande Coal. And Maleek Berry, you’re a phool for this one. I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!! Ten songs of this quality would have put ‘Wanted’ on par with M2M, maybe even better; but Maleek had other ideas.
To be clear, ‘Wanted’ is no M2M, not even close; but it has its moments. The good thing for me is, this album confirms that Wande Coal still has “IT.” And I’m glad. However, ‘Wanted’ is a dismal downgrade from M2M. The production on this album was, for the most part, unimaginative and pedestrian. I’m not saying Wande Coal should have gone back to Don Jazzy; I’m just saying he should have upgraded, otherwise. And Maleek Berry was not an upgrade. Also, songwriting on this album wasn’t impressive. I mean, there was too much use of boilerplate lyrics and very narrow choice of subject matter, which might have been okay for another artist, but not so for Wande Coal. Perhaps WC fell to the level of the creative support he had on this project. Also, I have a quarrel with the not-so-subtle ‘comeback’ theme that underpinned this album. There’s a big difference between a comeback album and a delayed album and I believe ‘wanted’ is more of the later. Wande Coal never left. He has released or featured in about 15 songs since M2M and has made a few videos too. So I didn’t quite understand the ‘been gone too long’ bent of the album.
All in all, “WANTED” is not the album I wanted, but it’s what I EXPECTED.
P.S: Do not take my word for it, COP THE ALBUM here