Feels seems a seven-track articulation of seven topic-based diary entries as Olu navigate the risque waters of melodious Sophisti-pop, Quiet Storm, Neo-soul, Soul, R&B, New Wave, Ambient and Trapsoul. The way Olu creates songs like ‘Lagos Hypeman’ typifies traits of an attentive social observer who probably dabbles in the art of psychoactive consumption.
Who jumps on a guitar-based Neo-soul track like, ‘Lagos Hypeman’ while finding the bridge between pungent nonchalance and affectionate ode delivery? I can tell you; talented acts who speak their true lives and experiences through their music. It’s a unique art that only humans who immerse and fuse themselves into experiences and imagination can conjure.
Other odes are scattered across this 21-minute experience as Olu discusses pain in the distance, love in earnest, music as a strength, self-love as necessity, depression as commonplace infamy and success as a goal. However, all these are results of different experiences that document a journey to healing.
A common theme throughout this album is its bid to project its maker’s unavoidable positivity. As piano chords create suspense on ‘God Save The Queen,’ Olu makes Quiet Storm with her tale of depression – filled with a pain that she needed time to fathom, accept and express. But in the same house, she probably lives with her partner – presumably, a husband.
She refers to that person as the King and herself as a Queen – self-adulation even in the thick of depression. That part, “The queen is in pain…” gives this writer eargasms – it’s a rare zenith that he craves from ambient Quiet Storm. Olu must also take a bow for her pen game on this song – detail is mired in easily accessible symbolism that simplify her storytelling.
Another common theme on Feels is acceptance; if Olu is not accepting and expressing love for Lagos, a city others curse, she is accepting her emotions on guitar-based R&B like, ‘Feels Like.’
After a moment of hesitation, Olu accepts real love that took her by surprise, “Had to rethink the way I think, had to redefine love, had to come out of my shell… Had to come find you, had to come love you…” This song ‘Feels Like’ an ode to the beautiful love story that became her marriage.
Then, the minimalist production that houses ‘Fading’ aids what seems like an ode to the gripping effects of good sex. On New Wave production sits ‘Made It,’ and Olu uses it to discuss helplessness, but she is not as coherent or audible in her delivery as on other sounds.
‘A Thing’ documents Olu’s relationship with her music as well as the rigorous emotional rollercoaster of her creative process. She wants people to understand these emotions, but like The Coy Mistress she shrugs the need to express and boxes it up, “You don’t know a thing, you don’t know what I’ve seen…”
But in the end, Olu ends a project that starts in the throes of depression with self-hype and self love on, ‘I Love Myself.’ When you reach the end of this project, it feels like Olu uses Feels to tell a story of convalescence while highlighting everything that helped her heal; music, love, Lagos and good sex.
What a project. Those deceptive cadences with the piano on ‘I Love Myself’ are amazing. And yeah, Olu can write… really write.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
8.5 – Champion