Celebrity artists who become famous as teenagers have to navigate that tricky stage when they emerge from those teenage years and assert themselves as adults to their adoring fans. There have been many successful transitions from Donny Osmond to Michael Jackson to Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. But there are also those who have disappeared into oblivion, never to be heard again. As I said, there is no guarantee that the fans will stick with the celebrity once they become adults so the product that the artist releases is very important. For Justin Bieber, that means an album where he can show his adult chops and say bye bye to his “Baby” days. He has to show that he matured musically from My World to My World 2.0 to Believe (where he was still a teenager) to this album Purpose (when he turned 21). Based on the fans’, the critics’ and the Recording Academy’s response – the answer has been a resounding yes, with Bieber getting a coveted Album of the Year nomination for this work. Although he snubbed the ceremony, for me, it is still a big deal that the Recording Academy voters heard what we all heard – a strong album with great songs. Not all critics though agree and have made some snide comments about Justin’s opus, but for me – this album ranked as one of the best in 2015 – and one of my most favorite albums of all time!
Black Magic is the third studio album released by Nigeria’s intriguing songstress, Yemi Alade. Over the last decade, she has dazzled her fans as well as music lovers with her thrilling lyrics, sonorous voice, and amazing dance steps. After venturing into the Nigeria music industry in 2005 under the label, Effyzzie Music Group, Yemi Alade has been in the business of releasing Dancehall and Afropop tracks. Now, she ranks high not just in the Nigerian music community but also in Africa and the world in general. Such a feat could only have been possible because of her consistency and mastery of her niche – With the success of her debut album, Kings of Queens, Yemi sought to do more, which culminated in the widely accepted second album, Mama Africa. Upon the release of her third studio album, Black Magic, the expectation was that she would move on to the next stage of her career. Rather sadly, the album didn’t get the anticipated positive acclaims, as she had to deal with criticisms from many quarters. As some of her critics posited, the album reflected her dwindling fortunes in the industry, given the fact that she obviously lacked the right lyrics and composure that were expected to make the tracks a hit – Now, you may ask, “What is the essence of the title, Black Magic?” Does this imply that the songstress was indirectly promoting the negative undertones attributed to the term? It’s worth mentioning that “Black Magic”, as described by many sources, including Wikipedia, has to do with the “use of supernatural powers or other acts of exorcism to achieve a selfish or evil purpose”. Critics of the album went further to wonder about the correlation of this definition to the lyrics and visuals of the tracks in Yemi Alade’s Black Magic album. Whether these have to do with the supernatural is a story for another day. Yet, one thing remains clear – the album took another dimension of exercising powers within your reach. In this case, Yemi Alade hinged hers on the innate power of the womenfolk, in particular, the African woman. A "power" that stems from the average African woman's ability to use her physical attributes to achieve her aim – A critical look at the album reveals that the songstress was literally battling to remain in charge after the success of her previous releases. To some extent, Black Magic is miles away from the vibes accrued to her hit single, “Johnny”. Except for the sonority of her voice and her dance steps that don’t seem ready to go away anytime soon, some analysts believe that Yemi Alade might just be at the tail-end of her career. Considering her rise to stardom in 2013, and subsequent success of her two previous albums, one expects that she would have brought in more factors to spice up the new album, Black Magic. Yemi proved her readiness to remain in the spotlight with the amazing personalities she featured in her Mama Africa album with the likes of Flavor, Psquare, and Selebobo lending their vocals to add flavor to her tracks. The same was expected on Black Magic but only a few prominent artists like Falz and Olamide were there to make the album thrilling – Although the sky mightn’t seem rosy as expected, Black Magic, which was released on December 17, 2017, can pass for one of the sacrifices Yemi Alade has to make, as she should draw strength from the criticisms and integrate more efforts into subsequent singles/albums.
Mama Africa (also known as Mama Africa: The Diary of an African Woman) is the second studio album by Nigerian Afropop and Dancehall Songstress, Yemi Alade – Yemi Eberechi Alade is a fast-rising Nigerian singer that has made her mark in not just the national music industry but also in the global scene. Venturing into the Nigerian music industry in the year 2005 under the Effyzzie Music Group record label, Yemi rose to stardom after the release of her hit track, “Johnny”. Although the single depicted her quest to find true love only to fall prey (alongside others) to the prey of a "playboy", she never rested on her oars as she tried her hands on many other genres. Today, she is acclaimed for her mastery of Afropop and Dancehall. Also in her list of vocals are Highlife and R&B. These go to show her prowess at adapting to different situations to give her fans an all-around entertainment – Following the wide acclaims that trailed her singles, Yemi decided to “give her fans something else to talk about”. This paradigm shift from single tracks like “Johnny” led to the release of her first album titled, “Kings of Queens", which was released in the year 2014. Buoyed by the trails of negative and positive reviews on the album, she went back to the studio the next year (2015) and commenced work on her second album. After a painstaking effort and utilization of some best hands in the industry, Yemi Alade, on March 25, 2016, released her second studio album entitled, "Mama Africa”. In furtherance of the significance of the contents of the album, she added an illustration, “Mama Africa: The Diary of an African Woman" as a way to depict the true meaning of the songs therein. Truly, most of the songs were in the appraisal of the African woman. You would discover the growth process of the African girl child in “TumBum”, after which Yemi takes us through the love life of the average African woman as depicted in “Kom Kom”, “Ferrari”, and “Ego” – One thing that can’t be taken away in this album is the fact that Yemi Alade went out of the way to put forward her best. This is depicted in the features of prominent artists such as Psquare, Selebobo, Sauti Sol, and Rotimi Keys. This is not to forget the great vocals pitched by Flavor and Sarkodie. Yemi also incorporated legendary producers like Mr. Chidoo, GospelonDeBeatz, and DJ Arafat. As usual, she didn’t leave out her lead producer, Selebobo in the whole affair. The two have worked on many songs, and they sure brought another classy vibe with this album – Mama Africa has significance for Yemi Alade. It would be recalled that she was literally bashed after the release of her first album. The criticisms were hinged on the fact that she seemed to “be running away” from her Nigerian origin and in its place, embracing the culture of other countries, such as Kenya, as was reflected in most of her costumes in the visuals of songs from her first studio album. To prove naysayers wrong, Yemi Alade brought back the vibes by showing more of her Nigerian culture in the visuals of her second studio album. As the name hints, Yemi also took out time to incorporate cultures from other countries such as Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Swahili in her second studio album, “Mama Africa” – Away from the praises, Yemi Alade also received some backlashes after the release of this album. For instance, it was discovered that she seemed to flutter with lyrics at certain points. Some pundits even went further to posit that her "savior" was the remarkable inputs of the featured artists and her sonorous voice. This is just as she got the jabs for not portraying the African culture, especially from the average African woman's perceptive of the culture – Aside from these perceived negative aspects to the album, Yemi Alade must be commended for churning out the album comprising 15 tracks and 54 minutes runtime. Besides, the album extended her reach, as she dazzled the audience at the 2016 edition of the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) with select tracks such as Tumbum and “Na Gode”. She later went on to grab the NEA Best Female Act, MAMA Best Female Artist, and Best Female Artist in Western Africa. This is just as she was able to extend her horizons by performing in several African and Western countries.
2015 was a year titans in the music industry released their albums to the world. This development made new comers in the music industry to stay the hell out of sight because no reasonable person would pick an album from a music toddler to that of music giants like Adele. Despite these threats, Troye Sivan released his debut album Blue Neighborhood as a newbie in the music industry. This singular act alone caught my attention and made me tag him the newbie with large balls. Troye Sivan is a South-African born Australian singer, actor and song writer whose life story is similar to that of fellow artist and gay boy, Todrick Hall. He gained popularity as a Vlogger and YouTuber when his channel recorded more than 3.7 million subscribers. The Internet is to be thanked for the sudden hike in the career of many young artistes who have reached their peak without metamorphosing through tedious stages before gaining world recognition. Troye is adored by lots of teenager’s courtesy of well, his beautiful vocals and the paroxysms embedded in his lyrics. He came out as gay in 2013 and is loved for his pouty lips that drives ladies crazy. Troye Sivan's debut album Blue Neighborhood has high production qualities and makes the world come to the realization that he's definitely a kid that has been around the block for a while but yet stayed unnoticed. The album is an extraordinary pop record. Something quite magnetic about the electro-pop artist is his effortless vocals, theatrical lyrics that leaves one flabbergasted wondering if such deep thoughts can come from a fresher. The album was released on 4th December 2015 under record labels EMI Music Australia and Capitol Records America preceded the singer’s EP album, TRXYE. The lyrics to Blue Neighborhood are romantic, strong and sexy where he narrates gay love stories of his youthful exuberance. Though the singer does not display vocal strength but is definitely a nice choice for the road.
Kylie Minogue is one out of a few dedicated musicians who dedicate their lives to their music career to see it reach its apex. Kylie though advanced in age (almost 50 years old) still has the nostalgic charismatic sensation in her rhythms. The Australian singer has recorded multiple successes in her musical career tallying fourteen albums in her 30 years of active music. Kylie’s intent for her 50 years of sojourning the earth was to create an album that commemorates her Golden Jubilee celebration, hence the album title Golden. The album is intended to be a form of an autobiography for the songstress telling the story of her transition from a dance queen to the stardom she has enjoyed. Many reformations have been recorded for Kylie’s music style as she was first unveiled vintage-pop then transformed to the sophisticated Kylie we all know today. Though the artist has never attained the pinnacle state where icons like Madonna have conquered, yet her footprints are deeply engraved in the sands of time. Golden is the 14th studio album released on April 6th 2018 by the pop star via BMG/Liberator Music. The 40 minutes track is the first of its kind from Kylie with modern day genre fusion of disco/dance and country-esque pop. Since the album was something personal, no other person was fit to tell the story of Kylie’s life better than herself so the album “Golden” was co-written and co-produced by the artiste. Being one of her most personal efforts, the album is a gallery of life travails including death, failed relationships, dancing and living life to the fullest. Little wonder why the album encapsulates country music and the feeling of home purity as majority of the album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. The Australian tinsel fairy recorded Golden shortly after her split from her former fiance. Upon listening to the album, one would mistake having the legendary Madonna on the microphone while doing a full split on the dance floor.
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