Our song of the week!
After several months of anticipation, Rema’s long-awaited debut album Rave & Roses is finally here. The buildup to this album is almost incomparable, with the 22-year-old Benin-born singer crafting and sitting on arguably the most anticipated body of work, both in the country and even beyond its shores, in the past few years. He looked the real deal from the very moment he announced himself a little over three years ago; young, extremely confident and armed with otherworldy musical skills. His earlier music had a certain edge to it: Take his eponymous debut which was characterized by angst, juvenile lyricism and Hindi geet-inspired inflections and melodies.
Three years on and the maturity ー musically and otherwise ー is crystal clear. His melodies are tighter, his lyrics sharper and laced with way more sexual innuendoes (which are almost overbearing at some point) and he’s exploring more and more soundscapes, refusing to box himself in. Also, one tool in his expansive arsenal that he has been able to properly sharpen over the years, one that’s clearly apparent on Rave & Roses, is the ability to craft incredibly catchy but repetitive choruses. “Are You There?”, “Calm Down”, “Jo”, “Divine” are some of the cuts on the album where the hooks, while somewhat enjoyable, are built on a simple word or phrase being severally repeated by Rema. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. One of the songs wherever it, however, undoubtedly works is the Chris Brown-assisted “Time N Affection”
Here, on the love-inspired cut that nicely blends Afropop and R&B, Rema wants to lavish and spoil his love interest with all sorts: trips to islands, sex hotter than a fucking furnace but most importantly his time and affection. And this is what he spends the entire hook repeating “Come make I give you all my time and affection”, changing his pitch from his preferred alto to a soothing baritone. While his hook is almost hypnotic, catchy and melodious, Chris Brown’s verse is another major highlight, with the veteran singer delivering one of the strongest verses on the entire project.
“Time N Affection” is a delightful marriage of two worlds. A talented 22-year-old leading a new crop of Afropop acts sounding at home next to a seasoned American R&B veteran who signed his first major record deal when Rema was only a toddler. It’s a top record that perfectly showcases Rema’s talents and also highlights just how far he has come in such a short period of time.