#Throwback:Darey’s Naked Reveals New Sensibilities
has been four years since Dare Art-Alade, one of Nigeria’s finest crooners of
the Afro-Soul fusion, put out studio album. In the intervening years since his
daring double album Double Dare, the
man has been playing compère—a very good one—and keeping his fans on their feet.
wait is over and I daresay that his latest 13 track EP (???) is worth every
second of the wait. Darey, as he likes to be called on stage, was an alumnus of
the 2004 Project Fame Academy. Before he lent his sonorous voice to songs, he
worked as a Radio/TV journalist
presenting MTN Music Chart in his power-bike-riding undergraduate UNILAG days,
a time that coincided with the vibrant campus renaissance of music and theatre arts
by the likes of the Trybesmen Collective, Kofi, Segun Adefila, etc.
inevitability as a singer can be premised on his late father’s singing career;
he probably spent his childhood listening to his father’s records. It was
however not surprising that in 2006, he released his debut album From Me to U (trivia alert: which shares
its title with Juelz Santana’s LP.) This album featured a hilarious hit song called
‘Escalade’. Olamide’s breakthrough song, “First of All” underscores the
importance of introductions, Darey’s introduction on “Escalade” was simply to mention
his name and quip a caveat that he does not own an Escalade.
years and two albums later, Darey is figuratively back, without his clothes.
The album title Naked is borrowed
from the metaphor of bearing it all in the open and what Darey reveals is a
patchwork of influences as well as a deliberate attempt to represent his evolving
aesthetics and sensibilities.
Laiye” begins the 49-minute long musical journey with a drumbeat borrowed from
Fela’s “Fear Not For Man.” This song in spite of its contemporary feel conveys
that biblical admonition about how there is a time for everything and how
profitable waiting can be.
a personal favourite, rides on guitar riffs through the length of the song. A
highlife song in the league of great love songs like Victor Olaiya’s “So fun mi”
and Rex Lawson’s “Serah Nene”, Darey also introduces early another dominant
feature on this album, the talking drum.
over sixty songs in his fifteen year career, it is on Naked that Darey concentrates unabashedly on Yoruba rhythms and percussion.
Of course he has written songs in Yoruba but before now, “Sisi Eko” on the
Heart section of his “Double Dare” was his best.
on love matters, Darey’s “nakedness” reflects a maturity that doesn’t lean into
the lewd. Well-behaved love songs outnumber other kind of songs on this album. “You’re
Beautiful” blends Anglophone lyrics and Juju rhythms, but inadvertently a third
to the song’s end, a Yoruba refrain about how women rule the world erupted.
mi”, still in the highlife mode, will become one of the wedding reception
playlist staples. “Love You Die” is mid-tempo song about flattery, enjoying a
call to response set to Nigerian English.
reminds us of his excellent Cobham collaboration—Not the Girl—on the low-tempo “Lie
to You”, a song about forlorn love carried presumably by the strength of
Darey’s voice and Cobhams Asuquo’s dexterous piano play.
for me”, another meditative song and, by far the most popular single from the
album, tells the story of a young man who tore away from his hometown into the
embrace of the city to find his fortune. It is reminiscent of the epistolary M.I’s
‘Money’ in clarity and storytelling. Soweto Gospel Choir’s harmonies of Yoruba lyrics
and the repetitive percussion make this song an instant favourite among listeners.
honors Bobby Benson, bandleader of the influential Jam Orchestra, with a remake
of his “Taxi-Driver” but instead of Sisi Siju, a more biblically acceptable
name is deployed and the narrative of sexual indecorum also spreads to men.
cameo on the remix to Asiko Laiye is disappointing as Baddo is more concerned
with clowning than laying down meaningful lyrics. The hugely successful
reggae-tinged duet with Asa tries for an innuendo in its title, “Inside Of You.”
Go Make Am” is a motivation song, not in the way that, say, a “Shakiti Bobo”
is, since it is more pared down and carried almost exclusively on the strength
of Darey’s vocals. “Champion” reminds one of General Pype’s same-titled song
and might just be written in anticipation of victory for Darey’s favourite club
as far as victories go, the longish EP Naked
is by far one of the better albums that graced 2015 and a worthy addition to
Darey’s growing discography.