Thraed of 🔥 Fireboy DML 🔥 and his new album Apollo

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That's right, it's another Naija-Pop thread, but it would be unfair to have one for Tiwa Savage and not young Adedamola Adefolahan.

I've got to admit, it took me a while to get round to Fireboy DML's sound, having beeen left cold by 'Jealous' which featured in last year's ILM EOY list.

But more recently, 'Eli', which featured in breastcrawl's line-up of exemplary contemporary Naija-pop tunes won me over with its sweet flute melodies and juddering bassline.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-T4-4Hveo4

There was some discussion on the above thread about Fireboy's passion for nineties pop. He has expressed an unironic love for the Elton John ballad 'Sacrifice', and breastcrawl posited that 'Eli' could be a direct reference to Ace of Base's 'All That She Wants'. Most egregiously, 'Favourite Song' from the new Apollo album references the nineties both musically and lyrically:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe4fFe2L4eA

I'm personally still skimming the surface of the album so far, but I'm a fan of the sweary hip-hop influenced lead-off track, 'Champion' featuring D Smoke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcXtOXgwimw

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 10:53 (one year ago) link

i don't really hear the 90s in his sound that much, much more 80s with all those synth pads + r&b from like ~2008-12 as far as western pop references go. as i mentioned in the afro thread, "Fireboy DML has cited Jon Bellion, Passenger and Wande Coal as his key contemporary influences.[3]" is just a totally ridiculous list lol

anyway this album is so good, easily one of my favourites this year. just hook after hook after hook with a great sound - those synth pads go really well with the afropop beats + guitar. even when he gets a bit too musically corny on "god only knows" and "dreamer" he pulls it off ok

ufo, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 11:35 (one year ago) link

Maybe it's because I'll never not be a corny indie fuxxor at heart, but I didn't really notice the guitar solo at the end of 'Eli' until it was pointed out - or at least, I didn't hear it as bad or even unusual. Listening to it more closely, yes, it is kind of abstruse, but it has this strange bagpipey quality to it that makes me lol.

I hear ya ufo - I was hesitant to say that 'Favourite Song' references the nineties musically. But I wonder if this is more a 24 year old's idea of what the nineties sounded like; like, he gets it slightly wrong in the same way as kids rocking nineties fashion revival get it slightly wrong too? I'm probably reading way too much into it here and should just enjoy the fact his music taste is deliriously all over the shop while being unfettered by ideas of what would be considered 'cool' in any way.

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 12:37 (one year ago) link

in other words, he's corny and proud, but not in an ironic 'this is so bad it's good' way. i could imagine him having a deep passion for, say, Roxette or somesuch

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 12:38 (one year ago) link

last post very otm

but ufo is right, the 80s are all over this as well, listening to the album last night I was reminded of Phil Collins’s “Take Me Home” at one point, don’t remember which song it was.

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 12:53 (one year ago) link

the guitar at the end of "eli" is a cool little twist, i think it works well

where his sound has ended up on this album reminds me a lot of like... 80s peter gabriel lol with the 80s synths + afropop flourishes

ufo, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 12:57 (one year ago) link

Let me repost what I wrote about the album on the Rolling Afro thread. It includes the full quote on his influences:

So yeah, Apollo… I went from ‘this is a fun, but extremely bumpy ride’ (‘whoa, did he really go there?’ ‘bagpipes?’ ‘are you Naija Derülo?’) the first time around to ‘boy, he’s really really really indulging his corny/sappy side here, huh?’ the second time. Listening again today, no way is it the near-perfect afropop album LT&G was, but I’m really enjoying it for the most part, even if the sequencing is a mess. I also think I can safely say this is not for everyone here tho.
My favourite tracks are the IamBeatz-produced “Lifestyle” and “Spell”, a super fun trio with Wande Coal and the ghost of MJ.
“Champion” is his “Way Too Big”, “Remember Me” is cheesy as fuck but I like it, but “Dreamer” is definitely way too much of a... thing (if he survived the key change, the rock guitar here will be the death of rob, I’m afraid).
I don’t agree with voodoo chili’s “mainstream play” assessment, at least not in the sense that this is a calculated effort to cross over beyond Africa. Fireboy is a total pop kid at heart, I think he’s just being his musical self here, for better or for worse. This is from an interview from the beginning of this year:

What musicians actively influenced your music, growing up and now?
Fireboy DML: Growing up, I listened to a lot of Celine Dion. Elton John helped me discover myself, there’s this song by him “Sacrifice”, that I consider the greatest song ever made. My dad was always playing Celine Dion and my mum always played Yinka Ayefele and Tope Alabi. Those influences made me realise how beautiful music is. But it transcended into people that really started influencing my sound, and they are just three people: Passenger, Wande Coal, and Jon Bellion.


Just listened to Jon Bellion’s biggest hit, “All Time Low”, and it makes total sense in the context of this album.
― No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), dinsdag 25 augustus 2020 23:17 bookmarkflaglink

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 13:08 (one year ago) link

I've never really heard of Jon Bellion but the way that quote just ramps up and ramps up into all-out LMAO ridiculousness makes me love Fireboy so much.

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 13:27 (one year ago) link

yeah i'd never heard of jon bellion before that quote but his one hit, "all time low" is kinda dreadful lol

ufo, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 13:32 (one year ago) link

Click here to delve further into Fireboy’s musical brain!

(the Bellion song that’s featured here is “Mah’s Joint”, an 8-minute long r&b/pop singer-songwritery epos, which bodes well for album #3!)

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 13:49 (one year ago) link

hope all this talk about his influences hasn’t turned anyone off from exploring Fireboy’s music (and I share his love for “Sacrifice” and Céline Dion btw).

while Apollo might not be for everyone who expects full-on “afrobeats” (at least not all of it, but do find out for yourself!), his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, as I’ve stated elsewhere, is one of the best afropop albums ever.

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Saturday, 5 September 2020 11:59 (one year ago) link

“Jealous”, his breakthrough hit mentioned by dog latin in the OP, was produced by Cracker Mallo. Fireboy didn’t work with him on the new album, but he is on CM’s own current single, “Wickedest Wyne”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQpD2EmoS_w

(it has that Omah Lay smokeyness and also features an orgiastic voice mêlée at the end - remember, it was Cracker who produced Tiwa’s “Dangerous Love”)

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Saturday, 5 September 2020 12:01 (one year ago) link

Long interview with Nigerian music writer Joey Akan.

This about the new album (but there's more, of course):

It's markedly different from "LTG". There appears to be a lot more Western influence.

*Well, in the sense that arrangement of songs, the way I arranged the songs, the way I arranged the verses and all that. Direction, yeah. But I managed to still infuse my afro sound. My Yoruba vibe would never die. I just needed to do something different from "LTG".*

He also namechecks Alessia Cara.

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Friday, 18 September 2020 20:45 (one year ago) link

I say 'there's more, of course' but actually I wish they would have gone deeper into it. It talks more about the debut. Either way, it's an interesting read.

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Friday, 18 September 2020 20:51 (one year ago) link

there's also a video for "Friday Feeling" now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zc0NUjvxGQ

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Friday, 18 September 2020 23:37 (one year ago) link

Fireboy DML's 'Scatter', off his LTG album has been announced as part of the official soundtrack of #FIFA21. Big deal for the musician.

Negotiated by EMPIRE Publishing & YBNL, it makes DML the first Nigeria-based artist featured in the official FIFA 21 game. pic.twitter.com/MlTGz7DytO

— Joey Akan (@JoeyAkan) September 28, 2020

Regard the timeless piano balladeeress! (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:32 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

after the Ed Sheeran magic worked wonders for him, Fireboy now wants some of that Asake mojo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxOuB-H-9hY
Fireboy DML ft. Asake • Bandana

big movers, hot steppers + long shaker intros (breastcrawl), Friday, 15 July 2022 09:43 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

my expectations for this album were a bit muted honestly, i didn't really lock in with the post-"peru" singles but damn this is pretty great imo, feels like a bit of a bounce back to me. "ashawo," "timoti" and especially "sofri" immediately feel like some of his best ever songs. "sofri" in particular is a knockout to me... instant classic. (i think it's a stripper anthem which makes it even better?) "diana" and "compromise" are also really nice & i like "havin fun" too... something about it almost reminds me of like... sugar ray. that real kinda MOR-ish side of him coming out but he is almost always able to pull it off.

J0rdan S., Friday, 5 August 2022 21:55 (one week ago) link

lol why did he put both the solo and ed sheeran versions of "peru" on this, is this the new way to game the charts or something

ufo, Saturday, 6 August 2022 05:51 (one week ago) link

my guess is that he wanted the original on there (better song) and his team/label insisted on the remix being included (reasonable) which usually results in the song being tacked on at the end, but that fireboy — who is a real album artist — insisted that “glory” be the final song. so we end up with this bizarre ordering of having the same song on the album twice.

J0rdan S., Saturday, 6 August 2022 22:35 (one week ago) link

but there should be more posts about this very good album

J0rdan S., Saturday, 6 August 2022 22:36 (one week ago) link

strong album. very nice mix of sweet and snappy afropop tunes. agree with “Sofri” and “Timoti” as the highlights. the highlife track is a nice surprise too. I like how clean his vocal lines are.

big movers, hot steppers + long shaker intros (breastcrawl), Sunday, 7 August 2022 17:32 (one week ago) link

as for the two “Peru”s: the Ed Sheeran version was never tagged separately on Spotify et al (as opposed to the 21 Savage/Blxst one, which is labelled as a ‘remix’), so it has always counted towards the grand “Peru” total. perhaps this was done because the original version was still growing its streams when the Sheeran version dropped, especially in the UK, where it had actually just made its chart debut (way down in the 90s iirc). maybe they were hoping the combined streams could carry it all the way to number one straight away. it didn’t quite get there, but it spent about 20 weeks in the top 10, peaking at 2.

I think the Sheeran version is great, not as good as the original perhaps, but totally enjoyable in its own right. It’s the best I’ve ever heard Sheeran.

it’s several notches above the Bieber version of “Essence”, on which it’s modelled: not that Bieber’s part is bad, it’s quite alright really, but sacrificing most of the whole Tems buildup for it, which is the heart and soul of the song, is way too high a price to pay.

big movers, hot steppers + long shaker intros (breastcrawl), Sunday, 7 August 2022 17:35 (one week ago) link

"timoti" is absolutely a highlight. kel-p is one of my favorite producers working right now, any genre.

in places all over the world, real stuff be happening (voodoo chili), Friday, 12 August 2022 17:54 (four days ago) link

embarrassingly enough i heard the sheeran version of "peru" before the original and enjoyed it all including his part. i didn't realize it was him at first but eventually i was like 'hmmm this guy sounds familiar... oh.'

dyl, Friday, 12 August 2022 21:30 (four days ago) link

bieber version of "essence" was unforgivable

dyl, Friday, 12 August 2022 21:30 (four days ago) link

yeah "timoti" is so good

album is very good except doubling up "peru" is so weird to actually listen to in sequence but sheeran's presence is totally fine for the first time in his career

ufo, Friday, 12 August 2022 21:38 (four days ago) link

the original peru is still pretty good tho, it’s a little awkward but i don’t really mind

mr. weird al and the box squeezers (voodoo chili), Friday, 12 August 2022 21:40 (four days ago) link

this strikes me of a case of critics coming late to an artist, overhyping the post-breakthrough album and then downgrading the album that is actually much better than the album the critics overhyped to compensate for their lateness

J0rdan S., Friday, 12 August 2022 22:32 (four days ago) link

who overhyped which album tho? don’t remember Apollo getting much traction

big movers, hot steppers + long shaker intros (breastcrawl), Friday, 12 August 2022 22:35 (four days ago) link

apollo got bnm at p4k!

ufo, Friday, 12 August 2022 22:37 (four days ago) link

compared to apollo though this one is even chiller & more streamlined, less kinda corny stadium moments

ufo, Friday, 12 August 2022 22:43 (four days ago) link


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