Tekno’s ‘The More, The Better’ and a wonky musical resurgence – Adeniyi Odukoya

Recovering your mojo after a musical hiatus can present challenges to a musical artist in Nigeria’s robust entertainment industry especially one who was riding the crest of success.

An attempt to revive this connection, after a major break, is almost impossible. The music might be good. But the fans may be gun shy about acknowledging the artist’s previous resplendence. Other times, it takes the talisman of a bubbly new act to take the “aged” artist back to the peak of the chart, a move Tekno sidesteps on his latest album, The More, The Better.

In the past few years— between 2019 & 2023 —  Tekno attempted to resuscitate his career by casually releasing singles. Unfortunately, like trying to scoop  water with a basket, they failed.

The title of the album gives way to the thoughts that cloud the mind of a superstar artist, who once had the industry at his feet, but for whom a shocking break has led to the decline of a promising career, once deemed to be headed for the stratosphere.

Right at the point of the transition that had Afrobeat blossoming offshore, Tekno lost his spot.  A mysterious vocal disorder, an inability to keep up with the groove of his previous hit singles, a long overdue debut album that led to questions about his talent, and the fleeting loyalty of the industry provided a cocktail that stalled his career.

Tekno The More The Better album is mildly instructive and largely reflective; it is designed to evoke the moral observation that has shaped Tekno’s life in the past few years and maybe as a cautionary tale for the new cohort, the happening artists in the space, the guys killing every show, topping local and international charts, shutting down events,

As much as it leans on the fringes of didacticism, it doesn’t fall short of melody and adept lyricism.

In an epoch defined almost by a complacent reliance on Amapiano, Tekno sticks intently to pure Afrobeat harmony. This provides a refreshing thrill — a replay value only a few of the albums that dropped last year can boast of.

On the first song, “Twice Shy”, he revels in the lessons accumulated over time, quips the dog-eared “once bitten twice shy” cliche as he implores listeners to stay calm amidst life’s uncertainties;  “when everything go somehow/ I just calm down/ and use my membrane/put your mind at ease/ just let your mind dey.”

Co-produced by June Nawakii and Tuzi, the sampling of Dido’s classic works absolute fire.

The same aura is retained on the second track, this time produced by Tuzi. Unlike the balanced feel that sublimates “Twice Shy”, the eponymous “The More The Better” evokes intensified sanguinity. An ultra-positive track that continues from where “Twice Shy” stops, it goes as deep as the artist’s obligation to keep listeners unbothered by the issues of life.

Song after song, listeners get subsumed by a dominant inclination for peace — evinced on tracks like “Peace of Mind” —  and love as seen in ear tingling songs, such as “Peppermint”, “Lokation”, “Permit” and “Borrow”.

There’s no let in the production as Kriz Beats, Tuzi, Egar Boi, Insane Chips, Dj Coublon, Fioke, June Nawakii, Taylor Boss and Tekno merge expertise. The questionable track is the epilogue of the album, the last song that doesn’t entirely consolidate the album’s brilliance.

Perhaps restricting the 13-song album to 12 would have been better. Away from this, the album runs perfectly on Tekno’s catchy, spooky and sensuous hooks. The only feature that graces the album is the track with Ckay, whose rhythmic charm drives sonic quintessence.

This time he opted for an album, a brave and commendable move. But the album’s inability to have attracted a mainstream listening and following since it dropped in September 2023 is unnerving. It is definitely not a question of quality. Rather it is testament to a community steeped in fleeting loyalty.

To ensure this album gets the deserved attention, a deluxe version might be the needed step in the right direction. The other way to do this might be to revamp some songs on the album with terrific collaborations and the Tekno we used to know might just be a few steps from a perfect resurgence.

***Adeniyi Odukoya is a Nigerian Poet, Essayist and Journalist. He’s the author of the poetry chapbook, Preserve This Light, published by PoetsInNigeria. He tweets @adeniyi_odukoya






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