A gentle evolution from the afro-pop hero...

As we edge towards the end of the year, Davido returns with his fourth studio album 'A Better Time' to round off 2020. The feature-heavy project sees Davido match up with the likes of Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby on a tape filled with a mixture of both high and gentle energies throughout. Themes such as romance frequent the project and whilst Davido doesn’t stray too far from his lyrical comfort zone, we can enjoy an artist we know and love in his newest record.

'FEM' is a triumphant opener. Leading with a dominant trumpet to match Davido’s projective range, the leading single offers a celebratory energy to begin the album. This is followed by 'Jowo', a mellow track offering a simple, yet pleasant melody with a tender piano and soft drums. 'Something Fishy' is equally soft, but this single follows a more folk-like tune reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s 'Lately' as he discusses fears that he and his partner are drifting apart.

'Heaven' is a personal favourite and a standout on the album. In one of the few singles which he appears alone, Davido showcases development that I would’ve wanted to see more of. With a melody mirroring Afro-house (a genre heard again in 'I Got A Friend' feat. Mayorkun and Sho Madjozi), we see an evolved artist taking a risk in stepping outside the melodic space we are used to.

There are several collaborations across the project and although these may seem mismatched, some are surprisingly pleasant. This is heard in 'Birthday Cake' feat. Nas and Hitboy. The soft hip-hop instrumental does not mesh seamlessly with Davido’s bravado, but is a perfect match for Nas who owns the single with his feature. Luckily, Davido makes up for this with 'Tanana' feat. Tiwa Savage, the seductive single which will make listeners wish COVID allowed us to leave our homes to enjoy a two-step.

The album title implies a better time than its predecessor 'A Good Time' however, it does not quite reach this standard. Whilst 'A Better Time' includes an array of interesting features, these can be overwhelming and Davido misses an opportunity to experiment more as a solo artist. Nonetheless, we do see some risk taking, with melodic singles and an inclusion of artists from other African countries which is appreciated.

6/10

Words: Tochi Imo

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