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Monday, July 15, 2024

Victony's 'Stubborn' is a solid debut

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Release Date: June 21, 2024

Genre: Afropop, R&B/Soul, Afrobeats, Hip-Hop/Rap

When you hear the word “stubbornness,” it often refers to individuality and resilience.

It's that challenge we all feel: the struggle to stay true to ourselves despite what others expect us to do.

For Nigerians, the word often conjures up the image of a “goat,” known for its persistence in acting up again even after being kicked out.

This perfectly captures the idea of ​​unwavering dedication and willpower. It might sound familiar to people who are facing similar real-life experiences.

Nigerian music star Victony metaphorically titles her debut album “Stubborn.”

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The singer describes the album as a narrative of “overcoming adversity and turning life’s challenges into influential art.”

Victony uses an African mother and her son to film the music video for Stubborn

On June 20, he told PREMIUM TIMES that the album is a lyrical representation of his resilient return to music.

'Stubborn' is more than just an album. The meaning goes beyond what the title implies.

''This album truly represents my story and everything I've had to overcome over the past few years. It's not just about reflecting on the trials and tribulations we inevitably face, but also about enjoying the abundance life has to offer and staying authentically true to who we are despite what others say.''

This followed the third anniversary of the near-fatal accident that forced him to undergo extensive surgery and rehabilitation to relearn how to walk.

The car accident almost cost him and his best friend their lives.

For Victony, this traumatic experience influenced her outlook on life and music, shaping the themes and emotional depth of her debut album.

The 23-year-old singer channeled his experiences into creating 'Stubborn.'

The album became available on streaming platforms on June 21.

The 14-track album reflects her journey of recovery and determination, aiming to inspire listeners to find strength and hope in their own lives.

A ram used to represent the context of the Collaborations album

'Stubborn' features a diverse group of collaborators, many of whom are exploring the Afrobeats genre for the first time.

The album features contributions from Teezo Touchdown, Saint JHN, Asake, Shallipoppi, and Shorae, each of whom brings a unique flavor to the project.

“Slow Down” (featuring Teezo Touchdown), “Tiny Apartment” (featuring Saint JHN) and “Ludo” (featuring Shallipopi).

Saint JHN, whom Victony describes as the “fastest” artist he’s ever recorded, adds another highlight with “Tiny Apartment.”

Track analysis

The album experiments with mixing genres, including tracks with Afropop, Amapiano and disco influences.

In “Stubborn,” Victony retains her ability to convey deep emotions and tell compelling stories.

The album opens with “Oshaprapra,” featuring Shorae Moore.

This song is about living life to the fullest and enjoying the moment. Its lyrics, predominantly in the Nigerian Yoruba language, set the tone with a soothing yet contrasting introduction, combining soft vocals and rhythms.

“Historia” is about personal growth and the journey of life. The opening lines invite listeners into Victony’s world, recounting her early days with a raw yet effective production from KTIZO.

In “Ludo,” Victony uses the metaphor of the game Ludo to describe a playful and dynamic relationship. P2J introduces Amapiano’s first song on the album with “Ludo,” featuring Shallipopi. Victony shines on this song, taking an unconventional pop approach, highlighting her versatility.

Asake, who appears on the album’s title track, “Stubborn,” once again focuses on staying true to oneself despite external pressures. Even though Asake’s verses are in Yoruba, he delivers a collaboration that is a clean hit. It reinforces the album’s essence of “overcoming adversity and turning it into a work of art.”

“Anita” is a song that talks about admiring a woman’s beauty and charm. It revolves around the artist’s attraction and infatuation with Anita. The song continues with the blend of Afropop and Amapiano, showcasing Victony’s mastery of these styles.

“Everything” slows things down with a mid-tempo track that remains danceable. The song expresses the artist’s commitment to his lover, promising to give his all to make the relationship work. The song includes samples of Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower,” showcasing excellent production from KTIZO and Blaize Beatz.

“Risk” captures how tempting a woman’s physique can be. It features only Victony and a vixen, but it has such a rich sound that it feels like a team effort.

Saint Jhn’s participation in “Tiny Apartment” is one of the highlights of the album. Lovers of soulful music will love this song. It is a song that explores themes of intimacy. Victony’s voice matches Saint Jhn’s rhythms and the synergy is admirable.

“Slow Down” invites you to take a moment to breathe and reflect. Although the song is performed by Victony, it features an underwhelming contribution from Teezo Touchdown, though he remains an integral part of the album.

“Kolo (Kolomental II)” takes a turn towards intense feelings of love and infatuation that drive you “crazy.” It is the follow-up to their previous release, “Kolomental.” It combines electronic sounds and ascending beats, using wordplay to create a solid track that takes you on a journey.

“Ba$tard, Don't Be Silly” kicks off a memorable two-track set with mid-tempo, percussion-heavy production that creates some of the best sounds on the album. It's about standing up for yourself and not letting others take advantage of you.

“Pier 46,” which is themed around the struggle for love, is slower paced. It features raw, unfiltered vocals and minimal production that highlights Victony’s emotional depth.

The good mood returns with “Sunday School,” an album enriched with beautiful strings, which contrasts its message of frustration with a distant lover. Victony plays with Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran. Confused by his lover’s behavior, he uses lyrics like: “If you want to change your ways, I’ll take you to Sunday school.”

The album closes with “Street Affair,” where Victony reflects on past betrayals and seeks divine protection, ending on a contemplative note that brings the album full circle.

Children in Stubborn used to represent the usual training in the African home for stubbornness. Topics

Resilience and perseverance

The central theme of “Stubborn” is resilience. Victony’s near-fatal car accident and subsequent recovery are reflected in her lyrics, which highlight determination and the will to overcome adversity.

Tracks like “Oshaprapra” and “Stubborn” showcase his defiance in facing challenges, encouraging listeners to remain steadfast in their goals.

Intimacy and emotional connection

Songs like “Tiny Apartment” and “Slow Down” delve into personal relationships and the complexities of human emotions. The exploration of love, intimacy, and the nuances of emotional bonds lend a heartfelt edge to the album.

Betrayal and trust

The closing track, “Street Affair,” addresses themes of betrayal and trust, with Victony reflecting on past experiences and the importance of vigilance and divine protection.

Pride and cultural identity

Throughout the album, Victony incorporates elements of Nigerian culture and sounds with lyrics in Yoruba and Pidgin English, celebrating her heritage while pushing the boundaries of the Afropop genre.

Production analysis

The production quality of “Stubborn” is exceptional, thanks to the contributions of a talented group of producers.

Their work blends perfectly with Victony’s vision, creating a cohesive and dynamic sound.

Also noteworthy is the participation of Nigerian rapper Olamide Baddo on the album, who played an important role in consolidating the project.

P2J: Known for his production work with Wizkid and Burna Boy, P2J brings a polished and vibrant sound that enhances the album’s appeal.

KTIZO: Their influence is evident in the intricate rhythms and instrumentation, adding depth to tracks like “Ludo.”

Blaize Beatz provided a sound that ties the album together, ensuring each track flows seamlessly into the next.

Featured tracks

“Slow Down” (featuring Teezo Touchdown): This song stands out for its disco-influenced sound and experimental vibe. Victony and Teezo’s collaboration creates an emotional resonance.

“Tiny Apartment” (featuring Saint JHN): This song’s fast pace and exploration of intimacy make it a standout track. Saint JHN’s contribution adds an extra layer of complexity and depth.

“Ludo” (feat. Shallipopi): A track from Amapiano that showcases Victony and Shalipopi’s versatility and ability to blend genres. The rhythm and catchy melody make it stand out.

Asake in stubborn

“Stubborn” (featuring Asake): The title track captures the album’s theme of resilience. With lyrics like “me, I stubborn gan,” Asake’s collaboration complements Victony’s style, making it a powerful anthem of determination.

“Risk” is a solo track that highlights Victony’s storytelling ability. Its rhythm and emotional depth make it one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Permissive defects

While “Stubborn” has many strengths, potential flaws can be seen.

In my observation of the album, the shifts between different styles can be jarring to some listeners, disrupting the overall flow of the album.

Although themes of resilience and perseverance are central to the album, some tracks are repetitive.

Some of the song lyrics seemed cliché and overly familiar, and they resorted to common verb tenses within Afrobeats and contemporary music genres. This attempted to detract from Victony’s unique narrative and took away from the impact of some songs.

Additionally, fans of more traditional or straightforward Afropop may find the experimental, genre-blending approach less accessible to their preferences.

The album's pacing wasn't entirely consistent. Some tracks seemed too fast, while others were more relaxed. This created a slightly uneven listening experience, where the momentum generated by high-energy tracks was lost by slower, more introspective songs.

Despite these flaws, “Stubborn” remains a strong debut album that highlights Victony’s potential and artistic vision.

Addressing these areas on her second album and future projects will allow her to further refine her sound and solidify her place in the global music scene.

Verdict

For a debut album, “Stubborn” is a release that solidifies Victony’s place in the Afropop scene.

“Stubborn” can be boldly defined as an unwavering commitment to her art. For me, it is a solid debut from Victony. Its non-Afrobeats characteristics give it a musical plus.

The album tells a story of overcoming adversity, making it a strong contender for “Album of the Year.”

“Victony's Stubborn” has a score of 7/10.

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