After much anticipation, Fireboy DML unveils his third studio album, Playboy, on August 5th, 2022. The album takes on a fluid blend of Afrobeats with R&B melodies, reggae/dancehall elements and pop sounds. For Playboy, Fireboy collaborates with big acts from Nigeria and across the world like Ed Sheeran, Asake, Chris Brown, Shenseea, and Rema. The album is a fourteen-track testament of Fireboy’s versatility and mastery of his art. Since his debut album of 2019, “Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps”, Fireboy has displayed an unmatchable level of tenacity and consistency. Only 26 years old and he has concretised his footprints in Nigeria’s history books as one of the contemporary pacemakers for the globalisation of Afrobeats.
If there’s a lesson on album structuring, Fireboy should be the professor in charge. The songs are perfectly ordered to provide a coherent sonic experience. The opening track, “Change”, is a soulful tune which sets the mood for an engrossing listen. Set against the backdrop of piano chimes, Fireboy affirms that his “life’s about to change” and it only stands to reason that it’s for the best, but there’s a tinge of uncertainty that the singer expresses as he croons, “But I feel a type of way”.
However, the sober mood is shed off a little as the rhythms pick up into a groovy Afropop vibe that is demonstrated in “Bandana” featuring Afro street-pop star, Asake. The song is a detailed elucidation of Fireboy’s reticent life and exceptional skills followed by Asake’s euphonious assertion. The song shows a side different from the usual hardcore Asake. “Ashawo” and the album’s namesake, “Playboy” are also party-troopers that give the first few minutes of the album an energetic appeal.
However, Fireboy applies the brakes and glides back into soothing melodies in “Adore” featuring Dominican-American rapper, Euro. They both share their respective grouses by mourning a love lost. In “Diana”, Fireboy links up with American singer and Afrobeats enthusiast, Chris Brown, alongside Jamaican singer/rapper Shenseea. The song lends a helping hand to save the album from what would have been a jerky collision with monotony. “Diana” bursts in with an amusing feel as listeners are immediately entertained by Chris Brown’s rigmarole with Pidgin. Sheensea’s tasteful Patois-coloured lines and blunt lyrics contribute to establishing the song as a fascinating listen.
In an era of music coloured by the recurring exploration of sounds to produce fresher and newer genres, it is no surprise that “Afro Highlife”, the eleventh song on the album is tinged with a crafted portrayal of Fireboy’s ambidexterity. It is an interesting, percussive track, packed with the potential to be one of the best songs on the album.
Even though we have been previously acquainted with both versions of “Peru”, they still exude excellence. Earning over ten million streams on audio and video streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music, “Peru” is the star of this album and its remix with British singer, Ed Sheeran, which received Gold certification in the United States of America, the superstar. “Compromise” is a song that depicts Rema doing what he does best — being amazing. Combined with Fireboy’s prodigious talent, they both sprinkle a healthy amount of style to the album.
The official tracklist for “Playboy” Fireboy’s third studio has just dropped.
Which song are you looking forward to the most? pic.twitter.com/sExszClKpx
— BELLAVITAWW (@bellavita_ww) August 3, 2022
A quality of his that is very quintessential to his art is Fireboy DML’s ability to ride the waves of emotional vulnerability in his music, to discuss his fears, pain, and desires. “Playboy” is garbed in this same attire as it exposes Fireboy being honest with his emotions. He wholly dissects his feelings and attitudes to a lot of happenings while providing a blanket of relatability that envelopes listeners, spurring them into a more intimate interaction with the album. In the last song, “Glory”, Fireboy concludes on a superbly optimistic note, confidently singing, “If you’re dulling me now / Please get out of my way / I’m on a new level now”. Here, we see that Fireboy is well aware of his status in the music industry and plans to take it up several notches. This serves as a foreshadowing motif that preaches the phenomenal things Fireboy has in the works.