By Emmanuel Daraloye
It’s quarter past 7, I am at a beer parlour, it seems am the only one drinking a non-alcohol drink here.
I was midway into sitting at the chair when I was asked for what I wanted by the waiter, I requested for a nonalcohol, I gulped it before I even began why I came to this place.
Eyo by Asa has been on repeat since I woke up, yesterday, I listened to the deluxe version of her eponymous album, now it’s the time for the Bed Of stone, her third album.
In this 47 minutes sonic trip, Asa was personal and the track sometimes reveals a glimpse of her state of mind while recording the album, it goes from sadness to indifference and later love.
For those who might have listened to Asa’s first two albums (Asha, Beautiful Imperfection), it was a step up on that, the mistakes(vocal delivery) were corrected.
The beer parlor waiter and his madam has been having some down moments here, the woman cussed at will, using the pidgin “You Dey Craze”, if I was the guy, I could have said, I no dey craze but am not him, I am a music journalist.
The first track was a ballad, a message to her imaginary boyfriend who did her bad, using some expletive, she let it out, it was unusual of Asa. With the guitarist strings leading her on, she went all in, asking a lot of questions, picture two exes exchanging words.
This sadness run through the whole album, even when she found love, she was still skeptical, she kept to her shell, that what heartbreak does to the mind.
On the happy groove Eyo, an homage to a popular Lagos-based Masquerade, Asa was still introspective, she asked a lot of questions, amid hostilities, she remembered her abode, the good old day, no cold faces, everybody cares for one another. In this context, Asa sounds like a foreigner in another man’s land, she misses home, the camaraderie, and love.
The waiter has just sat down beside me but his madam won’t have any of that, she asked him to stand up and collect the fetcher from a man.
The crucification of her ex continued ‘Satan Be Gone”, the man is hell-bent on coming back but she was gone. No longer wants to see him. Satan Be Gone is also a black gospel.
If you are still oblivion on why Asa was angry with her BF on the first track, then listen to the titular track. It was an introduction to the character, aided by an orchestra, she reveals little about her self, the dream, she is an immigrant who works round the clocks, odd jobs “Working jobs others don’t like” She suffer emotional abuse but she is hopeful, she had a bag of dream (Apologies to Fireboy). The track ended with some deep questions with Asa switching to Yoruba.
Moving On explored Asa’s battle with life, soulful with the backup singer, it a lonely world but she vowed to pull through, it a sequel to Bed Of Stone, Grateful was a gospel which on hindsight might have been a good churchy tune, it jazzy, something for the 21st century wozup churches. With this Asa completed the first half of the album on a gratitude note.
Society was a satire about the state of the nation, sadly, nothing has changed. How Did Love Found Me Explored the themes of Self-love, she is still haunted by the ordeal meted out to her by her EX, she doesn’t feel she deserved to be loved, even when she found someone who would do that, she had some doubts. Should I term this a state of inferiority complex? How Did Love Found Me is such a long title, the soulful jazz tune continued Asa’s narrative from a victim’s perspective.
Asa’s tribulation with Love continued on IFE. For once, it seems she finally found love but Nah, people were determined to crush such feeling, the guy was not even helping matters, she has no shoulder to lean on.
Situation was a confluence between Jazz and Reggae, another social commentary, she called on God to save the masses. The baseline bangs.
After self-sabotaging herself, she finally sees the light on “New Year”, she is now trying to love herself, she is not scared to call the bluff of anyone. A win for self-love proponents.
The singer exhibited some level of Stockholm Syndrome on ” The One That Never Came”, there is a new lover, even though she confessed liking the person, she finds it difficult to love him, she prefers to wait for her ex, she even begged the guy not to fall or tell her his secrets. This is the typical situation we sometimes found ourselves.
A man just sat beside me, he requested for one of the popular brands that organize a search in rain forest, he slowly poured the content into his cup, this is art, you know.
I am just two tracks away from the end of the album, “Sometimes I Wonder” explored the wickedness of man to man, she bemuse the negative energy around.
Bukola Elemide ended the album on a positive note, an encouraging word to people.
Bed of Stone was a hurtful, expressive, and Soulful Asa at full force, it was more on the darker side though, some of the track could have been better off the album but it all good, this is Asa, she can tweak the rule.
If this was a story, it would be on the C side, I don’t know if this was deliberately done by the artiste, it comes and go, when you think she is over the guy, she opens another version and explores, it might wear the audience out.
The waiter is now back to my side, it a wrap, I’m out of here. Time check 8:35 pm
Emmanuel Daraloye is a music journalist and a pop culture curator.