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Reviews

Amaarae “Fountain Baby” Album Review

Fountain Baby

Amaarae

  • Genre: Pop
  • Date: 09 Jun, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Region: NGA
  • Track(s): 14
  • ℗ 2023 Golden Angel LLC, under exclusive license to Interscope Records.

Amaarae &Quot;Fountain Baby&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, September 23, 2023

 

Ama Serwah Genfi, often known as Amaarae in the music industry, is a Ghanaian singer well known for tackling issues in racial and gender representation through music. She performed a few non-album songs, worked with other local musicians, and in 2017 she released her debut EP, Passionfruit Summers. Amaarae, the Ghanaian-American singer, became an alté-pop pioneer after releasing her self-titled debut album in 2020. Following Kali Uchis’ inclusion on the remix of “Sad Girlz Luv Money” the following year, the song went viral online and amassed over 350 million Spotify listens. Its lively mixture of Latin and Afropop music propelled Amaarae into the public eye.

Album Art

Amaarae &Quot;Fountain Baby&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, September 23, 2023

The album cover for Amaarae’s second full-length, Fountain Baby, confirms her status as a creative with a distinct vision and someone brimming with aspirations and ideas. She turns out to be a dual water sign, and the album’s publicity texts are rife with water analogies because she is attracted to both the peace of mind and sustenance it provides and its ability to absorb and eliminate without leaving a trace. In the artwork, the singer is depicted as covered in water with her head turned away from the camera while donning a diamond crucifix and a white wrap with the words “holy water” across it.

Tracks And Features

“All My Love”‘s soaring strings serve as the album’s opening track before “Angels in Tibet”‘s intense bassline and piercing percussion, in which she breathlessly sings, “Tell me who you are/Is this what you wanted?” Amaarae’s natural, charismatic charm steers these waters, even if Fountain Baby is as enigmatic and powerful as its source of inspiration. In “Angels in Tibet,” she commands the audience to “Step into your power. Say no more and do your part.” Amaarae’s vocals ring and float on “Angels in Tibet,” breaking into rap before fading into a whisper.

Interestingly, Amaarae’s more attention-getting experiments outshine the lead singles, the dazzling, horoscope-citing”Co-Star,” and the boundlessly sensual “Reckless & Sweet.” For instance, “Wasted Eyes” includes a string intro recorded with a 13-piece London orchestra and a Japanese folk song (Battaki by Umeko Ando) reinterpreted by contemporary Japanese vocalists and a kora player. Aquamarine Loves Ecstasy, meanwhile, retains the contagious rhythms of Afrobeats but more overtly nods to the groove of some sounds of African jazz. Amaarae’s agility and intuition truly stand through in these left turns.

The astrology-themed song “Co-Star,” a tribute to the popular app among Amaarae’s audience, describes how the diasporic community’s spirituality has diverged from its Abrahamic roots, which older generations were influenced by. “Me and her, it felt like a threesome / Must be Gemini,” she sings.

“Reckless and Sweet,” with its moderately amusing criticism of a fickle person, flicks off enunciation for psychedelic release: “I needed a cleanse, anointing my mind, my spirit / The evil-er eye has warned me of your intentions.” Amaarae excels at performing these rhythmic pirouettes, gliding above the swells of a familiar Kpanlogo beat that firmly roots her lyrics and melodies between dance and meditation. Although she appears carefree, she worked hard to craft the perfect tone of voice to evoke the unnatural high of intoxication.

Amaarae worked with her executive producers KZDidIt, Kyu Steed, and the in-demand Yves Rothman to meticulously and purposefully ground her vision in the sonic environments of her youth. That has elements of the traditional rhythms and cadences of her native West Africa at times. Still, it also occasionally recalls classic pop songs like Janet Jackson’s Got ‘Til It’s Gone and “I’m a Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears. “Princess Going Digital,” which is carried by a similarly light, Janet-inspired voice, and the aggressive, the aughts hip-hop-indebted “Counterfeit,” which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Pharrell-produced Britney tune, are examples of Amaarae’s take on alternative pop.

Amaarae has always sought to create and disrupt, following in the footsteps of her idols and showcasing the unending source of creativity and influence she finds in her diaspora. A traditional Senegalese musician is used in “Counterfeit” to rework surf rock tunes. The mellow, disco-infused interlude “Sociopathic Dance Queen” brings us more conventional pop tunes as she jokingly sings, “Purple like the colors of the moon, left you in my garden in the nude.”

Amaarae explores sexual desire while pushing the limits of spirituality on her album “Fountain Baby.” She is known for her unusual, seductive vocals that contrast with her straightforward writing, which she continues to deliver on the thrashing punk-rock single “Sex, Violence, Suicide.” No matter what she asks, she sings, “Just fucking tell me yes.” “Tell me I’m the only one; tell me I’m the best.” A punk interlude so unexpected that even mentioning it here feels like giving away the ending. “Sex, Violence, Suicide” is an oddity in the project. It’s a wise decision because, beneath the artistic polish, a moment of discordance offers a “dangerous” riptide.

Amaarae amps up her role as a societal disruptor on the album’s concluding track, “Come Home To God,” by continuing to project a startling level of self-obsession that never comes off as annoying. Amaarae stretches the boundaries of African music on this album even farther than they have ever been.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 All My Love 0:43
2 Angels in Tibet 2:22
3 Co-Star 2:46
4 Princess Going Digital 3:09
5 Big Steppa 2:56
6 Reckless & Sweet 2:39
7 Wasted Eyes 2:28
8 Counterfeit 2:36
9 Disguise 2:49
10 Sex, Violence, Suicide 4:13
11 Sociopathic Dance Queen 2:19
12 Aquamarie Luvs Ecstasy 4:38
13 Water From Wine 2:36
14 Come Home To God 3:19

Album Summary

In Amaarae’s opinion, Fountain Baby radiates “an unstoppable surge of sex appeal, abundant blessings, and undeniable swag,” it also makes a “vibrant declaration to the world that I am a truly blessed child of God.” The work explores feminine sexuality, gender subversion, female empowerment, and artistic self-expression. It incorporates mainstream Afrobeats with experimental pop and has a distinctive fusion sound.

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