If you have not heard of Fireboy DML, where have you been? The Nigerian singer-songwriter has been setting the airwaves and dance floors ablaze with his hits. The artist whose music fuses Afropop, R&B, and soul has just dropped his third studio album, titled Playboy. In this recent offering he cements himself within the Afropop genre, lamenting the intensity of fame and the fear of failure. However at the same time he is still celebrating and embracing the process of starting from the bottom.
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In the first record “Change” Fireboy told Apple Music “I was excited, but I was also scared for the future. I was scared of what was going on. It’s a song about me reassuring myself and just telling myself to relax. It’s a journey going from uncertainty to braggadocio in a second.”
The song sets the tone for the rest of the album which is quite different from his first two albums Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps and APOLLO. Those two revealed a vulnerable, introspective, and romantic persona. This time around, he introduces listeners to a more mature Fireboy.
He maintains his usual smooth and rhythmic sound that is typical to his music. But he also creates a fresh and enjoyable listening experience for his listeners. He moves away from his usual tropes of a lovelorn character. Contrary to what the name “Playboy” suggests he clarified, the name does not connote the playboy that we are familiar with “women, pools, lingerie, doing great stuff”.
Many could argue that sentiment because in the tracks Playboy and Ashawo, Fireboy seems to condone young and frivolous promiscuity in his smooth bad boy lyricism. In the song Playboy,’ his confidence around women shines.
“I know you are in love with me but please don’t say that” he sings.
In Ashawo, he makes commentary on this generation’s relationship dynamics. He told Apple Music: “Basically, it’s not an excuse for men to cheat, but it’s also the realistic point of view explaining why men in Lagos or people in general, people in relationships, cheat on their partners. It’s just me saying, ‘It’s not my fault. It was the alcohol.”
Across all 14 tracks from Playboy. Fireboy has fun and invites the listener on a storytelling adventure. He talks about life, love, and success in a relatable way. In most of the reviews of the album, the hit song Peru is referenced the most. This is basically because he features Ed Sheeran.
However, the song became beloved once you read how the song came to be. Fireboy told Apple Music: “One beautiful thing about this record is that it was made out of love. I was surrounded by my label team, people who really genuinely care about me. And that environment of love gave birth to this song. But I made that song out of a depressed mind. I was sad.”
This album will possibly not go down as the best for those who have not listened to Fireboy from his first offering.
However, it should be a delight for Fireboy fans just because of how self assured he is as an artist in these songs. There is also the potential growth and evolution we are yet to notice from him.
This will be on my playlists for many years to come.