If you’ve been living under a rock, you can be excused for not hearing that Johnny Drille, a sensational Nigerian singer and songwriter, has recently dropped an album.
This album is tilted “Before we fall asleep” was released on the 3rd of Septemeber, 2021.
REVIEW OF BEFORE WE FALL ASLEEP ALBUM BY JONNY DRILL
Here is a review of the 14 songs in this album. If you are yet to listen to it, great, let’s hold your hand through that process in words.
The first song, “Loving is Harder”, starts with a series of anticipatory chords and a sleek beat that controls the head this way and that. Like a proper, Johnny Drill staple, this song is very lyrical. The light beat and serenading trumpet voluntary sets the mood for this new album.
“My Kind of Brown” starts with a monologue in a voice that smells like darkly lit room, scented candles, and red flower petals, saying ‘You are so perfect….’ The beat of this song is very African inspired and seasoned with piano chords changing at every other bar. The modulation at the end of this song is so gratifying and aurally pleasing. The next single on this EP, “Ova”, like the first song, forces the body to move in its rhythm. The heavy bass and the stumping of the guitar gives this sing the force-dance enchantment it possesses. Johnny featured Don Jazzy on this number.
Johnny drill and Styl-plus held the mic for the fourth song, “Odo”. Odo, is the proper lover boy anthem. If you have a girl who doesn’t seem to feel you, send her this song and wait for a reply. It ends with a repetition of the line: ‘Be my Odo’. JD is joined by Ladipoe for this number, “Driving in the Rain”. There is a bit of rap in her, but mostly, it is lyrical music with soft, moderate beat.
“Before I LET GO” reminds me of the reason I love Johnny. This sing is heavily vocal with just subtle drum groove and guitar. The harmonization of the voices, where they appear, gives joy. Pure joy! The next song features our gurl, Arya Starr. “In the Light” is very groovy. It is produced in such a way that there’s bars of almost empty beats, and them bars with full beats that forces the body to move. Like the lyrics, this technique paints the idea of one in the dark being ushered into the light. Fire!
“Clouds” features Chylde. A pure example of classic Johnny: space instrumentation, but fire lyrics. “Lies to Whom it may Concern” picks off where “Clouds” ends in terms of beat. The legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s blood in Johnny jumped out in this number. Personally, this single is the highlight of the whole album. In this clime where it is hard to find artists with a VOICE of their own, this song is an assurance and confirmation of Johnny’s Brilliance.
In “Lost in the Rhythm”, JD pointed a touch into police brutality and criminalization of artist based on appearance and perception. A disk jockey is arrested because “so na DJ you take buy this car?” Then comes JD’s voice, singing about a resilient young man who, unlike his hasty friends, commits to his talent and finally gets wealthy.
“Sweet as a Mother’s Love” starts like something from Asa’s. Again, classic JD, stumping guitar gently lending support to his silky, lyrical voice. “Sister” sounds like a sequel to “O Brother”. JD features the Lagos City Gospel Choir on this number. The choir beautifully harmonized Johnny’s voice in a wonderful dynamic style.
“Sell My Soul” starts with instrumental that emulate the waters of a fall. The soothing vocal begins and the waterfall instrument continues under. JD sings of his muse being always in his mind, temptation, and longing for ‘mama’s arms’.
This album is sure a banger, Johnny Drille didn’t disappoint. Go stream on your favorite streaming platforms.
I am Music Estate’s Music Director