Amaarae has started again.
The Ghanaian-American artist who burst onto the “alte” scene in 2017 with her mellifluous voice, has dropped her debut album titled THE ANGEL YOU DON’T KNOW.
It’s been three years since her 2017 EP Passionfruit Summers, and I honestly couldn’t be happier with this new project. The most beautiful part of this album is the way she’s both her “old self” (with her throaty vocals sliding seamlessly over soulful beats) and a different beast (giving seamless harmonies over trap beats) at the same time.
I honestly could have sworn she took Kobe’s (RIP) advice on that “same animal, different beast” tip, because, what?! She really went hard.
The album intro ‘D*A*N*G*E*R*O*U*S’ took me back to Passionfruit Summers. The snippets of punk rock already let’s me understand that Amaarae as an artist is evolving and growing. She’s coming out from her shell and becoming a Superstar. This intro made me feel so empowered!
The first song ‘FANCY’ is her basically talking about who she sees herself as, a fancy bad b*tch. It’s that song you want to blast out loud when you’re getting ready to go out because you know you’re about to kill it. This song is clearly for all the baddies in the world. What’s not to love? and let’s not forget the smooth backup vocals from KZDIDIT.
Next track is ‘FANTASY’ featuring Maesu & CKay, where she channels early ’00s Brandy. This song sounds the most like “Passionfruit Summers” Amaarae, and that was so great to hear. Growth is sweet but living in nostalgia is sweeter.
‘LEAVE ME ALONE’ is a song about reflecting when you’re around people, and realizing you just want to be left alone, or escape into your own world. I really loved this track because I could 100% relate.
She takes us, Santi and Kodji Radical on a psychedelic ride with ‘JUMPING SHIP’ and all I want to do is thank her for giving us such an amazing song.
Next is ‘FEEL A WAY’ which is a REALLY sexy song for bad honeys! Trust me, whenever you’re drunk and feeling good, listen to this track.
‘TRUST FUND BABY’ comes on next with lyrics that go so hard. It’s a sexual, yet witty and playful song. In the words of Amaarae “Soak in all the feels and vibes.”
‘HELLZ ANGELS’ is a trap princess ballad filled with potential Instagram captions. I mean, “I can’t even lack, I’m blessed”. I love this track a lot, I was just finding myself saying Amen while listening.
‘CELINE’ catches you off guard before having you smiling sheepishly. It’s a sexy and sensual song. What’s not to love? The harmonies, the lyrics.. this song is everything.
‘DAZED AND ABUSED IN BEVERLY HILLZ’ is that song at first listen you’ll think is short and sweet, but really isn’t. The lyrics are completely opposite. She says things like “But I love it when you’re mean..” “You make me think about shit..”. I know it’s an interlude, but I really wish it was longer.
‘SAD, U BROKE MY HEART’ and ‘3AM’ (is she speaking Yoruba?!!) seem to blend into each other at the right point in the album to make a psychedelia mélange, before ‘SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY’ wakes you up with it’s catchy lyrics and Afro-fusion sound. She brings the album to an end with ‘PARTY SAD FACE/CRAZY WURLD’, a two part track featuring Odunsi and KZDIDIT.
It ends the album in a weird but sweet way, plus the punk rock-inspired sound at the last 25 seconds of the song? to die for!
Listen to ‘THE ANGEL YOU DON’T KNOW’, below.
All in all, this project highlights the fact that the future of popular music is in Africa. With the way she did not allow the music industry force her to narrow her sound to “fit in”, with all the influences (both African and diasporic) fully coming to light at the most random of moments, I would not change a single thing.
“The Angel You Don’t Know” is available on all platforms. I promise, you’ll love it.