Tems’ “If Orange Was A Place” EP Is A Disappointment
There’s a major discrepancy in how far Tems’ name has gone in the past few months and how much content she’s put out.
She might be the poster girl of Afrobeats outside of here, but on the home front, the “Damages” singer has a lot of homework to do. Especially since her style isn’t all that conventional and people don’t really get it.
Tems became a sensation in 2019, after the hip-hop duo, Show Dem Camp put her on their “Palmwine Express” album.
Later that year, she joined Wizkid at the Starboy Fest in London, alongside a long list of other promising Nigerian artists which included Terri, Naira Marley, Fireboy, and Buju.
Her first project, “For Broken Ears,” didn’t however hit the stores until September 2020. The EP was led by a single, “Damages” which made some airwaves. But that was until “Made In Lagos” dropped in October.
Soon enough, the focus shifted from her own music to what she did on Wizkid’s “Essence.” 2021 came and the “Essence” wave started. It was Tems’ chance almost as much as it was Wizkid‘s.
Now it’s almost a year since her first EP, Tems has hit the Billboard, she’s broken records, she’s set records, she’s done incredible numbers. But not with her own music, no. Her music is still that kind of music that even her core fans cannot really fully understand.
Either that will change with the release of a new project is irrelevant. What is however relevant is that Tems continue to do solid groundwork to prepare the industry for what is to come. Because, believe me, Tems isn’t just gonna go away. We’re stuck with her now.
“If Orange Was A Place” EP
“Crazy Tings” is the first track on the orange EP, and knowing Tems’ it’s anything but a disappointment. The track has a loaded afro-fusion instrumental which you probably wouldn’t notice cause of Tems’ powerful voice plunging through it, trying to puncture your eardrums. For example, the synth at the end only becomes ‘hearable’ after she stopped singing. “Crazy Tings,” which was released earlier as the lead single, is the latest in her “bad bitch” collections.
“Replay” is more afro than everything else. On replay, she talks about how her “voice is a mystery.” And oh boy, is she right. In the second verse of the hookless song, she later addressed her arrest in Uganda, as she boastfully claims no one can really test her. “Replay” would probably be better if there was a sing-along chorus, but there’s nothing.
On “Avoid Things,” the fourth track, Tems starts by singing about how she misses a guy and would like to resolve the issues between her and the guy. But he “don’t want to be sorry.” The song has some folksy elements and is as distant from Afrobeats as anything. You could never really understand why a song like this made it to a Tems project in the first place. But then, it is Tems.
“Vibe Out” isn’t bad at all. The idea is brilliant, but the execution is just there. Why is the track five minutes long anyway? Boring at the end.
“If Orange Was A Place” defies all logic. And there are all these questions. What is this? What is Tems trying to do? Why is her voice like this her? Why is the production like this? What went wrong on this track? Nobody understands it either.
That excuse of no one understands her cause she’s so different is running out of steam fast, though, because we’ve seen what she can do, what she did on “Essence,” for example.
The EP has no coherence whatsoever, and where “For Broken Ears” falls short, this 18-minute project falls even shorter. The sound, the production, the voice, there is a problem. I don’t know what it is. But if this EP is supposed to be enjoyed by regular Nigerians, then there is a problem.
On A Scale Of 1 – 10, What Would You Rate This EP?
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