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Lost Files: Y'akoto's Mermaid Blues

Lost Files is a column dedicated to celebrating older projects that might have flown under the radar when they were released. This week, Oluchukwu reviews Y'akoto's Mermaid Blues, a 10-track project which perfectly illustrates all the push and pull qualities of love.

Technological advancements, wars and uprisings, world cup tournaments, and TikTok. Despite the various changes and upheavals the world has been through, the need for love, companionship, affection, or whatever synonym it is known by has not disappeared or reduced in urgency. It is the subject of many conversations, books, paintings, and music.

For Ghanaian-German soul musician Y’akoto, love is the centre, the nucleus from which everything connects on Mermaid Blues, her third studio project. Released in 2017, it has no features and discusses a wide variety of subjects all connected by the thread of love. From rejection to toxic relationships and even the European refugee problem, Mermaid Blues is all about understanding and navigating love’s treacherous paths; if you are a Rick and Morty fan, then the album is all about the chemical reaction that compels animals to breed, hitting hard and fading slowly, leaving you in a stranded marriage – you get the point.

Now, a track-by-track review.

“Fool Me Once”

The album’s lead single examines the dynamics of a toxic and hurtful relationship. The song describes the feelings of a person suffering at the hands of their partner but sticking to it despite the distress it causes her. She sings

“I let you do the worst/We fight and cry/I forgive you everything, I'm in denial/I do this every day, we don't get tired.”

The verses expose the repetitive nature of the conflict and temporary resolutions that exist in this relationship. The hook, which also ends the song, lays the blame for the charade at everyone’s feet.

“Fool me once, shame on you/Fool me twice, shame on me too/Fool me once, shame on you/We got to be mad, out of our minds, for what we do.”

“Take Him Back”

Ah, this is a fun one. The album’s second track details the singer’s mental anguish as she regrets having an affair with a man who is already in a relationship with another woman. She might be Ghanian, but this is a classic Lagos story. Over soft drums and guitar strums, Y’akoto expresses her fears about the entire thing, which is basically a moral conflict: