Simi’s career has been somewhat a wonder. Since the release of her phenomenal sophomore album ‘Simisola’ which launched her properly into the industry, she’s had it all — the hits; the album of the year win (Headies); and numerous successful collaborations and projects.
Although Simi has had an amazing run, it hasn’t been all roses. Her third studio album ‘Omo Charlie Champagne’ didn’t meet up with the standards Simisola had set, yet, it still had a quiet reception. Fans have been hoping for “Simisola” return for years now and after the underwhelming “Omo Charlie Champagne”, she released the Smash hit “Duduke” and the critically acclaimed “Restless 2”. Alas with “To Be Honest”, it feels like a retrogression yet again.
The album kicks off with ” Story Story ” an account of her journey in this industry so far. The sentiment is beautiful, but the execution is stunted. The verses do a good enough job of telling Simi’s story, but the chorus sounds like something from a children’s choreography number.
“Balance” lies at the tail end of the constantly devolving quality of Adekunle Gold-Simi collaborations. Adekunle Gold is in prime form career-wise, but on “Balance” he delivers his most flaccid verse in recent memory.
Songs like “Temper” and “Nobody “are lovely songs with impressive melodies but they are outnumbered by fillers like “”Born Again”, “Easy” and “Love For Me”.
There are moments of brilliance on this record, however. “Naked Wire” shows Simi serving the crispest and sultry vocals of her career. “Loyal” is by far the best song on this record. Simi is stellar on the track and Fave gives her best showing on collaboration in her career. The contrast between their voices is intriguing and the song as a whole is well done.
In all, “To Be Honest” might be the most polarizing record of the year. On the album, she seems honest about the things that matter to her, including loyalty, sexuality and most especially her Christianity. It might not be the truth we expected to hear but it is the truth she’s given. Critics argue that the songs bleed into each other and sound alike, but the album is arguably no different from “Made In Lagos”, another masterpiece of sonic cohesion. Simi’s voice has also never sounded better. The album boasts the best vocal performances of her career, by far.
In the end, it all boils down to preference and ” Je Ne Sais Quoi”.Perhaps the album’s reception will improve over time. Perhaps it’ll be regarded as a classic or a maligned album. But for now, it seems that Simi has taken one step forward and three steps back.