Brymo’s ‘Klitoris’ in Review
A friend once suggested to me that Brymo was the musical male equivalent of Asa in Nigeria. That was after he had listened thoroughly to the ‘Klitoris’ album. As an Asa stan, I found the notion somewhat ridiculous and fumbled out an awkward explanation why his idea wasn’t fool-proof. Turns out I would later capitulate on my earlier standpoint because now the idea doesn’t sound as ridiculous as it once did.
It’s no longer news that Brymo’s sound is as original as it is alternative and we are treated to a medley of different sounds in the 36-minute compilation titled ‘Klitoris’ – a title which emphatically alludes to unbridled raunchiness on the album tracks.
A cursory glance at a few track titles on the album may serve to embellish such lewd notions and rightly so to an extent because Brymo’s lyrics are as ambiguous as they are plain – a paradox weirdly but existentially comfortable. Brymo’s style is expectedly flexible and his singing voice, throaty and raspy is fluid, one-minute, or nasal the next. His emblematic beats of heavy percussion pervade many of the tracks especially Naked, Ko S’aya Mi and Alajo Somolu.
‘Klitoris’ is full of retrospection and introspection, yet manages to be entertaining whilst philosophical.
The first track Naked is subject to many interpretations, and while the hook suggests a love song, the lyrics that accompany it go deeper. They speak of vulnerability and a man’s war against injustice, as well as his craving to be loved and left in peace.
Dem Dey Go has the distinctive Afrobeat flavour reminiscent of Fela. Thematically, it speaks of the folly of partnerships and places Brymo in the position of the sage who narrates the story. It is easy to see why many people have connected this song to his falling out with the Chocolate City crew, but then if this is so, Brymo does a good job of making it less obvious.
Track number 3, Happy Memories is a soulful offering full of clichés you won’t notice. You are sure to be washed away by the ululating waves of Brymo’s throaty voice as he mouths pedestrian love lyrics like “I’m lost without you” and “I’ll do anything for you”, amongst others. But as I said, you won’t notice because it is such an exceptional ballad.
The graceful and long-legged Anjorin is all that concerns Brymo in Ko S’aya Mi as he serenades in a style heavily lathered in folk genre. The song carries gently and could almost pass for a lullaby; a lovely one.
Brymo shifts base to street smartness in Alajo Somolu, which alludes to a non-fictional character said to have been a ‘sharp guy’ in his days. He talks about survival in the city and how shrewdness in finances is essential to survival. The force of Afrobeat is strong in this one no doubt.
If there is a song equivalent to Korede Bello’s God Win or Pharell Williams’ Happy on the ‘Klitoris’ album, then it is undeniably Something Good is Happening. The tone is upbeat and joyful, and the message is ‘jubilation’. It’s a song we all need.
Billion Naira Dream discards the upbeat jubilatory tone for a sombre introspective tenor as Brymo charts his struggles and desire to succeed.
The hopeless romantic in him is unleashed in Let’s Make Love, a soft alternative pop song. The tone is soothing and Brymo smoothly doles out his lines in a ‘bed-roomy’ and effectively persuasive voice. Mirage continues in the same vein and he once again is persuasive as he makes an ululating plea for us to Get High. How or by which means is what he does not share.
Track 10 is alternative pop with a tint of reggae. The lyrics to The Way the Cookie Crumbles are deep, the kind of deep that makes one brood as Brymo expounds on the vagaries of life. The beat is a medley of different sounds, which surprisingly work despite their seeming disjointedness. The concluding track The Girl From New York segues effortlessly into this same eclectic beat and for a minute – it took me several weeks – you might think you were still on track 10. There are only 7 lines of lyrics on this song and it is just over a minute long. You just can’t help but wonder how Brymo made it work, yet he did.
The cover art summarises the album; weird, eclectic even eerie but you invariably get a sense that nothing is amiss or out of place.
April 19, 2018
March 21, 2018