Review : Efya – This is not the Album EP

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These are my thoughts on the “This Is Not the (TINT) Album” Extended play released in December of 2013 by Ghanaian recording artist Efya.
Efya is an exciting afro-beats/neo-soul singer, songwriter from Ghana. She burst into the limelight after being part of an award winning duo called Irene & Jane. After a hiatus due to education, the group disbanded and she changed her moniker from Miss Jane to Efya. She successfully reemerged onto the Ghanaian music scene to rave reviews and awards, as a result of a number of well performing duets with rapper Sarkodie and her hits like Best in Me.
The thirteen track, forty-eight minute long EP is a collection of some of her famous singles and other previously unheard gems. It was released as a prelude to her debut album titled, “Love Genesis”, scheduled to be released sometime in 2014. A sort of exposition of her sound and style. She mainly explores love based themes of disloyalty, change, escapism, ad nauseam with simplistic diction, singing in English with hints of Twi and Pidgin English. Most of the production is mellowed and not too jumpy, with low tempo piano chords and bass guitar, producing a unique Africanized soul sound. This gives her powerful vocals the perfect canvass to dazzle and shine.
She samples Chris Brown’s Don’t Judge Me on the song Body. She does well to own the lyrics and command the pace of the song, in the end it doesn’t quite sound too much like a typical RnB song. But I feel Efya should move from doing covers and be loved for her authentic style which she excels in. Sexy Sassy Wahala is another song I enjoyed. I first heard this on the Ghanaian movie series, “Adams’ Apples” and I was impressed with the synth pop guitars. A sound I would not usually associate with Ghanaian singers. She does well to produce a soulful ballad about the struggles of a women in the big city. In her own words, “Make my money/Do my own thing/ you can’t stop me”. Rather cliché pro feminist lyrics.
My favorite song on the EP is Getaway, produced by BlackStar. She sings about escaping to a peaceful quiet place, from the chaos and stress of the city. The hook is simple and catchy, re-emphasizing the theme of the song. It’s a rather refreshing switch up from her usual song themes of idealistic love. Runaway love is both dangerous and exciting. The instrumentals here are probably the best on the tape. I have no other word to describe the manner in which the sounds complement each other, not rushed, but in some sort of metaphysical agreement than Perfect.
Falou is another noteworthy track on the Ep. Here she samples Duncan Mighty’s “Obianuju” and completely obliterates it. The producer makes minced meat of the original. The 808 drums and strings crescendo into an eventful chorus oozing all the emotion out of the song. Her vocals command the song, the instruments acquiesce to her lead to create a master piece. I would pay for her to privately perform the song.
Efya limits the features drastically on the tape to just one, on the song Commot. A good decision because it allows her to dominate the tape and make it achieve its purpose. Other artist put too much features on their EPs and the as such the loose their identity on their own work. Black Magic doesn’t even take attention away from Efya on Commot. They combine to create an upbeat reggae influenced record on infidelity in relationships.
The songs in didn’t like being on the EP were Best in Me and Little Things. I felt the artist should have left them as the massively successful radio singles that they are. Instead on putting them on here and taking attention from the other great songs she has.
Overall, this is a body of art Efya should be very proud of. It served its purpose well, introducing her sound and building up hype for her debut solo album. I feel she has a very authentic, well groomed, unique afro/neo-soul sound, and I will be disappointed if she strays from this to produce radio friendly record which might not utilize her full potential. Her lyrics are just about right, not too catchy or overly poetic. Her production, top notch and tailor made to accommodate the power in her voice. TINT is definitely on my top five Ghanaian records. She reminds me of Sade, on more Africanized Jazz instrumentals. I appreciate the originality.
I rate this album 8.5/10 and present Efya with garlands she deserves.
-Hakeem.

efya-tint-album-mixtape

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7 thoughts on “Review : Efya – This is not the Album EP

  1. Sade ? Wow. That’s a lot of credit. I haven’t really followed up on her. But after reading this, I’ll pay close attention to her. And I must really say I love the way she grew from being Miss Jane to the Efya we know now.

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    1. Yes, her sound has really evolved. On some of the songs here she sounds like an upbeat Sade. I wasn’t a fan till I listened to it. I hope her album doesn’t disappoint.

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