by Wilfred Okiche
The artistes who contribute to our worst albums list are some of the biggest names in the business. From another 2face Idibia dud to a hotly anticipated Wizkid sophomore that failed to sizzle, a less than inspired 9ice to a clearly misguided Mode 9, these are the most disappointing records that 2014 had to offer.
In ascending order.
- The Ascension- 2face
Even longstanding fans found it difficult once again to connect with 2baba on this record. No longer content with being the local champion, Idibia baits the world music community with feel good, thrill seeking fare of the journey man kind and produces a record that is all over the place, untidy and seems targeted at older audiences. The disc is titled The Ascension but 2face does not quite get this record of the ground. The individual songs may work on their own terms but they fail to come together to create a suitably convincing sound. He alienates his local audience while attempting to push the boundaries and does not exactly triumph in his crossover attempts.
- Above ground level- Mode 9
All his career, Mode 9 has been plagued with the lure of going commercial as opposed to maintaining his purist hard core tendencies. 2014 was the year he attended to his capitalist senses and released a high profile album that featured guest appearances from names like Don Jazzy, Ice Prince and 9ice. Sadly Above ground level did not quite lift off the ground and went by almost unnoticed. It didn’t help that the record was as stuffy and self-conscious as they come.
- Ayo (Joy)- Wizkid
Wizkid’s long awaited sophomore never recovers from the let-down of its dull track list and no amount of superstar charm can save it from instantly forgettable status. The problem with Ayo is its monotony; about half of the songs sound the same and Wizkid keeps his eye only on the clubs and party grounds. A good portion of Ayo is painful to the ears, mostly when Wizkid attempts to scale notes that he hasn’t properly practiced. There is little sign of artistic growth and he keeps operating at a level he should have left behind with his debut.
- Epiphany- Timaya
The Egberipapa 1 of Bayelsa returned with another collection of huge sounding power dance singles to keep us busy in the clubs. For this Epiphany, Timaya went on an unchecked ego trip and kept serving song after song of mindless drivel. The beats are big but the lyrical content and production values are stuck in 2006. For once Timaya’s charms weren’t able to sell an obviously rotten product.
- The Evolution- Made Men Music group
Iyanya hasn’t strayed from his not-so-secret formula of securing big danceable beats, some traditional flavour, lyrics that do no not make much more sense and commissioning visually suggestive videos. He leads his team (Emma Nyra, Selebobo, Tekno, Basi) down a similar path on The Evolution and not one of them attempts to resist. Pliant and submissive, the rest of the team is as unimpressive as they are bland. They come up with a record that zooms along half-heartedly, boasting some fine dance cuts, some sprinkles of individual dexterity but is for the most part, content with playing it safe. No evolution here.
- N.N & G.R.A- 9ice
Folk singer 9ice spent the greater part of 2014 dabbling in politics, campaigning and losing the ticket to represent his constituency at the Federal House of Representatives. All this political activity almost made us forget that he released another pair of double albums earlier in the year. On both improbably titled discs, C.N.N (cancelling numerous negativity) and G.R.A (galvanising right ahead) 9ice is a shadow of his former self and moves from one tepid song to the next. We’ll just pretend this one never happened.
– The writer tweets from @drwill20