Pre-Listen Review: Oxlade’s ‘Eclipse’

a charming collection of romantic numbers

Oxlade has one of the most distinct voices within the new generation of Afropop hitmakers. With no recognisable label backing since his entrance on the scene and a penchant for orchestrating ethereal romantic drops that linger on lips for weeks after their release, the singer has been able to carve out a place for himself in today’s oversaturated music industry.

Since breaking into the limelight with the catchy hook on Blaqbonez’s 2018 single “Mamiwota”, Oxlade has only grown more consistent and experimental with his art by collaborating with some of the biggest names in music and establishing himself as one of the most formidable hook killers in these parts which have only served to make him a figure of importance to this day.

His captivating voice continues to grow organically and earn him new levels of recognition and respect from his peers, mentors and music lovers alike. Last year, at the peak of the pandemic, Oxlade released his debut solo EP ‘Oxygene’, a delectable 6-tracker that found the Afropop superstar delivering love tunes and Afropop bangers, giving listeners more proof of his star power and veteran tendencies. Since then, the 24-year-old wunderkind has in no way relented on his mission to soundtrack our lives as he continues to sharpen his artistry one hit at a time.

This year, solo releases from Oxlade’s camp have been far and few within as he’s mostly served up stellar collaborations with a spate of talented artists from Ajebutter 22 to Spinall, YCee, Mizzle, Falana, and more. However, that all seems to be changing now with the release of his sophomore EP titled ‘Eclipse’. The succinct 4-track tape gives listeners a further taste of Oxlade’s soul-stirring vocals and his ability to seamlessly match the synergy of each of his collaborators.

The production is helmed exclusively by DJ Coublon and features more of the singer’s usual romantic and relatable musical offerings including the promotional single “Ojuju”, his first solo release of the year. Although the EP is rather short, clocking in at a 12-minute runtime, Oxlade brings the warmth of lush soundscapes and dreamy vocals into each track on the project. Over an array of sweet melodies and the twinkling of delectable percussion, Oxlade conveys weighty messages that will surely resonate with his listeners.

On “More”, he displays his eagerness for romance as he pleads with a romantic interest to open up further to him and take a chance on their budding romantic relationship. As he bargains for more time and affection for his lover, crooning about his commitment to their love using apt metaphors from the story of Oliver Twist, Oxlade gives listeners a taste of what’s to come: his refreshingly unfiltered ability to serenade, coo, and pine for the love he wants.

Much of his lyrics are very romantic and transparent as he unabashedly declares his desire for romance. The entire project exerts the feeling of one who is willing to fall in love a million times until he finds his person. He ruminates on what he expects from relationships on the project’s lead single “Ojuju”, which finds him truthfully revealing his fear of falling in love with an undeserving lover. On this track, he uses the term ‘ojuju’ as a metaphor to highlight his fear of falling in love because it reminds him of a ghostly terrifying experience.

Melodies are front and centre on everything that Oxlade puts his mind to. On the next track “Pay Me”, Oxlade delivers fierce reflections about love, trust and commitment. With lyrics such as “E no go pay me to break your heart,” the singer shows that it doesn’t pay to be unfaithful to his romantic partner as no amount of money can make him change his values for a quick moment of pleasure. He never strays from the singular vision of soundtracking our most romantic thoughts, a sentiment that seems like the driving force of most of his musical offerings.

On the final track “Incomplete”, Oxlade signs out with a high tempo number, a depature from the earlier songs. Here, the singer partially segues from romantic tracks to musing on his life without any reservations. “I got a lot of things I want to shalaye/this thing dey pain me inside my mammary gland,” he quips on the song’s first verse, attempting to clue listeners further into his psyche which results in a song that is equal parts fiery and reflective. In its entirety, ‘Eclipse’ is a clear indication that Oxlade has created a planet of his own with poignant metaphors and uplifting lyrics. We’re just visitors to his sonic multiverse which he continues to improve upon with each new release.

Stream ‘Eclipse’ below.

Featured image credits/NATIVE

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