Najae is a man of many influences and genres. Nothing underscores this more than his Aquarius which almost plays like a songwriter’s portfolio.
Track 1, “Sugar” sounds like a Darey and Asa collaboration waiting to happen. The opening chords and lyrics are reminiscent of a Darey piano ballad but as the song progresses, he goes into full “Bibanke” mode. Wildivah also stuns with impressive vocal runs at the end of her verse as she and Najae belt for dear life. Considering the pedigree of the Artistes chanelled on this track, it’s no surprise that it’s the best song here.
“Feranmi” is the typical up tempo Afrobeat song. The track is reminiscent of Joeboy’s work with winding/catchy melodies and a few adlibs. The song is refreshing and one you would keep on replay. A perfunctory party bop for the project.
Lead Single, “Hold Me Down”, is a subtle beauty. With slight adjustments, this could well be a Peruzzi song. It is honest and heartfelt like the best of the former’s work. A gem.
On “Amaka” and “Ifunanya” Najae pleads with his lover to treat him right, and pledges his love to her, respectively. The Tekno influences on these songs are almost palpable.
By all standards, Aquarius is an interesting project. The production and Najae’s eclectic delivery ensure that, but may also be his undoing.
One leaves the EP not knowing exactly what to expect next from Najae. He cannot be tied down to a particular sound. Of course this could be intentional, and might be a concept project like Sia’s This Is Acting. It really is a Songwriter’s record.
Either way, Aquarius, is an interesting, engaging body of work that serves Najae and his discography well.
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