by Wilfred Okiche
Oritsefemi has been working quite hard to retain relevance since enjoying a mid-career resurgence in 2013, thanks to his chart bursting Double Wahala single. Nothing he’s done since then has come close to capturing the wonder of that seminal Fela cover, but if that level of success has eluded Oritsefemi, it is simply because moments like that are hard to replicate. But he stays trying anyway.
Corporate Miscreant is Oritsefemi’s fourth studio album, coming about a year removed from Money Stops Nonsense, his last mainstream studio effort. Because this one arrives without the benefit of a lead single on the scale of Double Wahala,- Mr Gomina with Reekado Banks tries but doesn’t quite cut it,- its release appears quite muted.
Which is quite unfortunate, as Corporate Miscreant is actually the better record. Yes, it still suffers from some of the same pitfalls of its predecessor; it is overlong at a mind numbing 21 tracks and by midway, only brave souls will surely stick around plus it does not quite commit to any genre outside of crass commercialism. But what Corporate Miscreant lacks in discipline, it makes up for in an earnest desire to please, at least on Oritsefemi’s part.
The songs that make up this collection are better thought out and there is some effort to make at least, decent ear friendly tunes, if not obvious, splashy hits. Puffy Tee who produced the bulk of the last record is near absent here and his only contribution is a friendly enough cover of the ageless Eyo chorus.
Mr Gomina is pop satire that plays on the grab all you can mentality of the political leaders that Nigeria has been saddled with since forever. Oritsefemi’s and Mr Banks voices find some unlikely common ground and meld into a wholesome mix.
Singing in Yoruba and English, Oritsefemi expends his vocals to produce likable melodies like the thanksgiving entry, Happy Day that sends all the glory back to the man above. Baby Boo is mostly drivel with lines like Your love is longer than all the NEPA wire but the staccato beat works its magic. Freestyle and Ongbalarami bring on the dance capably and pays homage to those noisy Terry G/Timaya jams that you just fall in love with on first listen.
On Rewind, Omidan and Awoo Ewa are mid-tempo highlights that help to further Oritsefemi’s cause. He has abandoned his hard core ghetto origins in favour of a more encompassing pop sound that is sure to help him retain visibility in the ruthless numbers market.
Thus his album isn’t quite coherent, or confident enough to make a dent creatively. It gets boring fast and the tempo slacks as his team of producers pull him in different directions. Corporate Miscreant account merely coasts along on account of its apparent superiority to Money Stops Nonsense, low praise considering the last album was really scraping the bottom of the barrel. But effort is appreciated and Oritsefemi at least scores some credit for trying.
If only it were enough.
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