Music Review: Adekunle Gold’s Catch Me If You Can is a kinetic testimony

Adekunle Gold follows the staggering success of his third album, Afro Pop Vol. 1, with Catch Me If You Can. Being unpredictable is fast becoming his shtick and even his fans expecting a sequel predictably called Afro Pop Vol. 2 were sucker-punched! This title conjures memories of that Hollywood caper film starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks in a cat and mouse game of wit, wile and guile.

Adekunle Gold may have cracked the code to making crossover music. Transience, insouciance and irreverence, for the most part, on the surface but on a deeper level, trusting the basic principles of repetition, brevity and courting the zeitgeist with an avant-garde flair. It is not that simple though.

The hype around Gold is his unpredictability but his themes haven’t changed since his first single. He is still the poster boy of affection, rallying optimism for the good things of life. In the span of four albums and six years, he has risen in ranks, hitting life goals of family, financial independence and musical accomplishment.

Catch Me If You Can is more of a kinetic testimony, than it is a cynical brag. And while the shenanigan around chameleonic appearances continue to be in the spotlight, his music radiates about the same axes. Contrary to popular opinion, this album is genuinely a sequel to Afropop Vol. 1 in style, theme and delivery.

Not much has changed since he varnished his autochthon Yoruba for the lacquered but hollow afrobeats variant. His rhythms still rely on highlife guitars, particularly the grumbling, repetitive bassline on—“Mercy”, “One Woman”, “Mase Mi”—the triptych highlight of this project. He still scoops from the lyrical fountain of evergreen juju tunes of Chief Commander Obey and King Sunny Ade as much as he plunges into heady nostalgia of Ajegunle/dancehall raga era. He finesses amapiano rhythms to and the slow burn of psychedelic urban r&b to furnish the core of his Afro Pop. Add the buff physique, braids, silky shirts, jewellery and a hint of hedonism, which contradicts the monogamous harmony often cited in his lyrics, and you have the new poster of AG’s affection.

It is as much as a transfiguration as it is aspirational.

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