Davido tries to balance local, International market with ‘A Better Time’ [Album Review]

By Adigun Temitope Idealism

When you hear of a better time, you are charged with the notion of having an advanced experience than what you’ve encountered previously. This is what the Nigerian superstar, David Adeleke knew as Davido planned on achieving with his new body of work “A Better Time, ” a sequence to his sophomore album “A Good Time” that was released last quarter of 2019 and reported to have amassed over a billion streams worldwide.

According to some music critics, Davido’s fourth studio album “A Better Time” released on the 13th of November, 2020, did not convey the process of having a better experience as expected, “it was a replica of ‘Son of Mercy EP’ with a fine-tuned elements better than ‘A Good Time.'”

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Producers: Napji DMW, Magicboi, Chillz, Eljack, Dante, Semzibeatz, FreshVDM, Isaac MasterDon, Kiddominant, Speroachbeatz, Ckay, Blaisebeatz, Papamitrou, Xander, Hitboy, Fresh, Lordsky.

Features: Lil Baby, Christ Brown, Sauti Sol, Bella Shmurda, Mayorkun, Tiwa Savage, Sho Madjozi, Nas, Hit boy, Young Thug, Ckay, Mugeez, and Nicki Minaj.

Song Writers: Deinde, Peruzzi, Wale Kwame, May, Toye, Kiddominant.

Track by Track Review

The lead singles off the album “Fem,” a subtle diss to his rival, Burna boy with lines like “…tell Odogwu to say we like to party” even though it was denied on several interviews, was stimulated to the greater pinnacle by the #EndSars protest when it became one of the unofficial protest anthems across the country at that crucial time. It was an excellent marketing strategy from Davido and his PR team – kudos to Asa Asika. According to the widely acclaimed Omo Baba Olowo, “Fem” was only the taste of a better time to come as he bragged about his international collaborations on the album before it was released. The song serves as a warning to Davido’s haters to be meticulous and stop hating on his success. The hook and instrumentation are catchy enough but he should have worked on the lyrics better.

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In “Jowo,” Davido begs his lover to stay and marry him. The song is a confession and confirmation of love between two lovers. This is due to the constant criticism of his lover, Chioma might have been facing from fans and his haters for years. The lyrics and vocal delivery of returning to the style used in “IF” and “FALL” on this track is impressive.

If you are a good Davido’s fan, you will be aware that “Something Fishy” is a reminder of “Return” off his “Son of Mercy EP.” His party vibe in the song should be lauded. The combination of different instrumentation to suit the vibe of the song by the producer, Chillz is very impressive.

When Davido announced that there was a song with Nicki Minaj on the album, fans of the superstar were happy, and immediately, social media went agog with excitement. “Holy Ground” is an example of potential musical chemistry between the two artists. Though lyrically, the track is lagging commendation should be given to the hook regardless.

In the South African sound (Amapiano) track “Heaven” produced by El Jack, the production is impressive, though Davido was still finding it difficult to understand this sound and how it works. The track is a promise to his lover to give her the best feeling while correlating her beauty to that of an angel from heaven.

“Very Special” is the second party kind of vibe song on the album. A good MayD fan would be aware that this particular track was written by him. The song reflects on the vibe of “1Milli” and with a good marketing strategy, it would go far. The instrumentation, lyrics, and delivery are very impressive. It is a special song that could listen to by everybody no matter the age gap.

Mayorkun came through with his witty lines and rhymes in *The Best.” The track is already getting massive airplay on radio and it is going to be another hit anthem in clubs. Mayorkun gives attributes to his boss, Davido in the track, while also reaffirming the musical prowess of Wandecoal with the lines, “nobody sing pass Wandecoal.” No doubt, the chemistry between the two artists should not be taken for granted on this track.

“Shopping Spree” featuring Christ Brown & Young Thug solidifies Davido’s success in HipHop genre and his artistic representation. The verses of the three artists are an indication of enjoyment – taking pretty girls on a shopping spree.

“Sunlight” is another romantic song on the album. Though it’s short, you will acknowledge the romantic chants used by Davido to suit his pretty lady. Also, the instrumentation done by Napji is inarguably at the top-notch.

In the Galala sound-like track, “Tanana” featuring Tiwa Savage, Davido gave the listeners a fresh feeling to the album and Tiwa Savage’s excellent verse on the track is commendable.

Davido’s plan in “Mebe” featuring Mugeez is to connect with his Ghana fans, as both artists sing about ladies ‘ body and their wonderful shapes. However, there should have been enough works on the lyrics – it’s below average.

In the blended Amapiano and Makossa sound-like track “Lala,” Davido teamed up with Ckay and they did have their maximum fun on the track with diverse wordplays.

Few days before the album was released, we got another song from the album “So Crazy” featuring an American rapper, Lil Baby. It was believed to be one of the best international features of the album, but after it releases, there have been mixed reactions from fans. Some think that the song failed to convey the desired effect the singer bragged about, while others blamed it on Lil Baby’s verse on the track – that it should have been more solid than what he gave. Some also blamed it on Davido’s verse on the song. Nevertheless, the song is mil and should have been better than that considering how big the featured artist is. The song is about an altercation between lovers, how one is not giving enough attention, driving the other crazy.

The work of an A&R can never be underplayed most especially during the selection of songs that would appear in a body of work. This is evidence in the addition of “Birthday Cake” featuring Nas & Hit Boy. This track should have been excluded from this album. There was no chemistry between the artists, or provably they had no time to understand their styles. The lyrics and instrumentation are below average.

In the homage song “I Got A Friend” featuring Mayorkun and South African artist, Sho Madjozi, the production, vibes, and delivery are praiseworthy. Davido is still getting to have a full grasp of Amapiano sound and it affected the sound a little bit.

Bella Schmurda and Davido struggled to achieve common chemistry in “Fade.” In the Speroachbeatz produced sound, some loopholes should have been worked on before the album was released.

There is no better song to end the album that “On My Way” with Sauti Sol. In the track produced by Lord Sky, Sauti Sol brought in the Lingua infusion that later incorporates a good feeling to the track. When it comes to blending sounds, give it to Sauti Sol. Enough credit should also be given to the songwriting of this particular track too.

Final Thought
Davido tries to strike a balance between the local and international music market in “A Better Time,” which affected the production of the body of work – there were loopholes here and there that should have been avoided.

No doubt, there are lots of hit songs on the album but we can’t overlook the quality of the body of work – the experiences; theme, sequencing, delivery, lyrics, and song selection. All these together make the album “A Better Time” have a little bit deficiency that is making it not better than “A Good Time.”

About the author: Adigun Temitope Idealism is a freelance journalist, music reviewer, and events and talent manager. He holds a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), and dabbles in street photography in his spare time.

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