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Amaarae releasing her debut album ‘The Angel You Don’t Know’, at the back end of this year was exactly what 2020 needed.
She has built momentum for this album for about three years since the release of her EP ‘Passion Fruit Summers’.
It is safe to say that she is the Afro-pop star we have been waiting for in Africa for a while now. While giving us alté sounds on ‘Passion Fruit Summers’, she has shown since then that streamlining her sound is at your peril.
Her uniqueness of sound and flexibility is evident more than ever on ‘The Angel you don’t know’. Her high pitched whisper is a willing libido trigger while being able to spit rap bars almost as effortlessly.
Her sound is a mixture of alté, soul, rap and Afropop. Her features are all on point and further enhance the sonic quality with artistes like Santi, Maesu, CKay, Molly, Princess Adjua, Kyu Steed, 6, Odunsi (The Engine), and KZdidit all of whom guests on the album.
The album centers on the theme of sex that is both nasty and intimate at times. It mentions her use of alcohol and trees to elevate the euphoria of the sex.
On different tracks, she presents herself as the Modern African woman comfortable with her sexuality. She switches between fantastical sex with both male and female partners on ‘Sad’, ‘you broke my heart’, and ‘Celine’.
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At times, she is on the receiving end of the sweet nastiness or the architect of the perversion. She flourishes in both roles and her songwriting skills only add to the tastefulness of her sound.
Once you get used to her falsetto, you appreciate her songwriting more and more. It is vivid, expressive and she does extremely well in censoring the most vulgar parts with naughty metaphors.
On ‘Hellz Angel’, Amaarae sung-raps and raps on a track shrouded with melodious Trap melodies and subtle drums sporadically.
It’s not always sex that is up for discussion though. ‘On Jumping Ship’, She is in a relationship where there is a lack of attraction which makes her question the relationship. ‘On Leave Me alone’, she craves the peace of loneliness.
The vulnerability she shows is explained by the artist’s statement. She sets out to showcase all parts to herself – sexually, emotionally, creatively and musically.
She aptly expresses the thought process behind this album. The album is an 8.8/10.