About a month ago, Nigerian singer, Omawumi’s debut album, ‘Wonder Woman’ clocked 10. Since that album dropped, she has released two albums, ‘Lasso of Truth’ and ‘Timeless.’
While Wonder Woman was not as critically acclaimed as its two younger siblings, it was still a commendable body of work; a needed happenstance that set Omawumi on her path to a good career that she can be proud of.
On Friday, June 15, 2019, the singer released In Her Feelings, her fourth album in 10 years. It was a cross-section of songs that offer an insight into Omawumi’s mind state on topics of of love, politics, personal struggles, life goals, emotional awareness and abuse.
In Her Feelings
The album opens up with the brilliantly produced afro-fusion, afro&B ‘Without You.’ It’s a declaration or re-affirmation of love to no other that her husband. The song seems sincere and true as there is an admittance of imperfection on her part.
‘For My Baby‘ is a song of appreciation running on a hi-life beat with afro-folk percussion. Omawumi urges listeners to applaud her baby for the way he loves her. The song slightly suffer on songwriting, as does the ‘Without You.’
‘Mr. Sinnerman‘ is socio-political commentary about the dire state of things in Nigeria. The reggae song is an indictment of the role we all play in the sad state of Nigerian affairs. She sings, ‘Mr. Sinnerman, don’t you know, say we all be criminal, don’t you know, look how we got here...”
On substance, the song is up there with the best on this album. In fact, it might be the most well-balanced song on the album.
The next song, ‘Away’ is afrobeat from the loins of Fela himself. Topically, Omawumi tries to stress how we should do away with all drawbacks, strife and heartbreak so we can live the best of life.
The songwriting on the second verse seems of lesser brilliance than on the first verse. The percussion is brilliance, and the melody is good, but not unique.
With ‘True Loving,’ we are back to the theme of love on an afro-sentimental ballad. Mostly, it dwells on adulation of a certain man. For the first time, Omawumi seems to be singing about circumstantial scenario, though she sings from a first-person perspective. It also touches on sex.
‘Tabansi’ runs on a beautiful afro-folk beat with the beauty of guitar chords and psychedelic trumpets. It is a heartbreak song that questions why a lover is reciprocating love with abuse. It seems a song about the imperfections of love, but on where it appears on the track list, it sticks out.
‘Green Grass‘ is afro-soul. It talks about the necessary and mature topic of awareness and assurance. The way Omawumi sings on the song, one wagers that because she tells us that assurance is sometimes unattainable, it’s better to be aware. The message is passed with metaphors of snakes and green grass.
This is applicable to several areas of life that require a decision; love, politics, emotions and so forth. It warns us to be careful of what we choose so we don’t regret – the other side might seem an option, but is it a good option?
‘Green Grass’ is the perfect summation to the mature topics Omawumi sings about on this album. She croons after a testing period like she is finally in a happy place.
On the song, Omawumi is like a chaperone who wants her audience to find her kind of happiness in love, country and political alliance from the start of adulthood. Such detail, we stan.
It seems Omawumi just wants to make different songs about the important issues of life that are dear to her with seven songs and she does that. But for me, there seems a little disconnect when socio-political songs come in between love songs, and when a song about emotional and physical abuse comes after songs about the beauty of love.
Sonically, I like the track list, but topically, I feel the smooth segues are off.
Thus, I feel the track list should have been;
For My Baby
This way, In Her Feelings starts with caution on how good life can be if taken it easy. Then, it goes to underline socio-political problems on ‘Mr. Sinnerman,’ before the problems of emotional abuse on ‘Tabansi.’ This way, the problem phase is comes first.
‘Without You‘ then starts an era of happiness and joy which ends with ‘Green Grass‘ that preaches how awareness can make us avoid the bad patches in life and in love.
In her Feelings is a beautiful multi-genre experience, but it’s short. This makes it a set up for the critic. With concise projects, criticism is hard because their weaknesses are easily digestible than on longer projects.
Generally, Omawumi excels topically and with her beat selection. The songwriting sometimes feels weak in certain patches, but it’s no cause for alarm.
You know the topical maturity that Jay Z displayed on 4:44? This is like the family-oriented, socio-politically aware Nigerian woman’s version without the top-heavy bars. This is grown woman music.
Omawumi sings like a woman evolving and in a happy place. During the live performance she hosted for the album at Twin Towers, Lekki, she acknowledged this reality and claimed she was happy in every way, “There was a time when I felt I loved my husband more than he loved me, but now, I’m in a happy place spiritually, financially, emotionally, sexually…”
This is a woman whose mind state is evolving beyond random topics to the things that truly matter.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.8/2
8.1 – Champion