By Emma Tallest
Tems, real name Temilade Openiyi is a Neo-soul, alte-Rnb singer who got introduced to the Nigerian audience with her March 2018 debut “Mr. Rebel”, she later cemented her place in the alternative genre 18 months after with the release of Try Me, a continual of Mr. Rebel themes.
Tems sparse release in the last 18 months has been augmented with collaborations with the likes of Lady Donli, Black Magic, Odunsi the engine, S, DC and Ladipoe, this writer got introduced to Tems via her vocal on a track on (Falling) off Ladi Poe TAP Mixtape in October 2018.
After months of teasing, Tems finally released her debut project, titled ” Key for the Ear”, it was six months late but her rebel doesn’t care. The project was openly accepted judging from the numbers on streaming platforms
People have always alluded to the uniqueness of Tems, I could remember NT Strings saying “She is a special babe ” when I posted her artwork a few days ago, yeah, she is very special even her mum could attest to that at the mid point of the project.
“For broken Ear” explored topics like mental health, heartbreak, and love. Tems write on topical issues, sometimes, you are lost on what she is really saying, you can’t figure it out on the surface, most of the lines were poetry at its peak.
The lead single of the project “Damages” was a neo-soul tune, the singer was lamenting about the impact of Teenage on her (she was once a victim), while she is over the love, the guy in question is not, while you get carried away with the banging key s,the message shouldn’t be lost on you.
The opener interference heavily relied on the Piano riff, a love gone wrong between two teenage lovers, Tems was taunting this supposed lover. He had nothing on her anymore, the loving ended in tears.
When Jazz and Rock meet, can we figure out a term for that, listening to Ice T, you have the notes of. Mr Rebel on this record, am I the only one who noticed this? At a point, Tems went the Patois way. Who makes Ice T with lemon?, she is better off without her boyfriend, while she invited him to a Tea meet up, I hope the dude would be smart to turn it down.
On Free Mind, Tems ultimately look forward to a better life, open-minded to whatever ensues. I couldn’t hear some of her vocal on this tune, the background voices were seeping in. Chaos.
Tell me why you are crying kinin big deal (shoutout to Naeto C), Tems begins with higher, an ode to a lost lover who visited with h invitation, it could also be a message to a girlfriend who just got heartbroken, trust me, this song has multi-layered meaning. She ended the song by promising to wait for him.
Tems ended with a trip to the neo-soul genre, the titular got into t name from this song, a semi-gospel, a ballad, sex music, all interwoven.
For Broken lived up the expectations, the minus would be a tracklist listing, the EP failed to tell a well-organized story with the way it was arranged, while Tems promised to pour out her self to the audience, it should be the n record, she poured more of the dark part with a sprinkle of life. I still can’t find a correlation between the artwork and the titular.
Tems is a topical writer, an average Nigerian might find her music difficult to understand, she made it even more difficult to understand on this project.
The songwriting on this project was super cool, Tems produced 85% of the songs on this project, no wonder the records came out great, she knows what would be good for her brand.
For Broken Ear might not make any groundbreaking impact in the music scene for now but it would be record that it was part of the few best album released in 2020.