Nigerian Born, US-based Afrobeats veteran, Duncan Daniels is one of the first generation of African diaspora acts that have been forging new sounds by properly blending their native sound with other sonics around the world. Duncan Daniels, with five studio albums and nearly a decade under his belt as a professional artiste, has constantly evolved with new trends on all of his projects.
The talented singer shares his long awaited fifth studio album titled ‘Songs Of Limitless Optimism- S.O.L.O’ after a lot of tease and months of pre-order on digital streaming platforms. The album contains 10 songs without any guest feature – a possible interpretation to the two-sided meaning the title carries.
Duncan Daniels flexes supercilious musical ability on this album as he sprang some sonical surprises with the deft sampling of different soundscapes including Amapiano, R&B, Neo-soul built on Afropop rhythms.
Perhaps the first lines of the intro “Solo” is enough hint needed to interprete the title of the project. ” One commando, I’m a one man show / this na true story, getting all the glory yuh” he sings on a mellow beat that draws listeners in with its tender rhythms. ‘Obalende‘, the lead single comes on and it follows similar pattern as the intro. Set on a bass percussion drums and an infectious and dreamy keys churned out of the piano, the rhythms are perfect for a summer night. ‘Mmadu‘ is a song that talks about getting through everyday and the different problems that people face daily. Titled in his native language, it is an ode to his Port Harcourt roots as he talks about the problem in his home state.
‘Diaspora Nights‘ samples ‘Dorime’ chants as Duncan Daniels paints nightlife enjoyment and cruise. The occasional change in his vocals deserves an applause. “Wasting Time” is centered on the theme of unrequited attention. Duncan Daniels vocals complements the mid tempo production stuck between African Pop and R&B soundscapes. On ‘Catching Feelings‘, Duncan Daniels copies Carribean intonation on his verse which gave the song a different dimension. ‘Iwo Nikan‘ is a mid tempo song dedicated to his woman urging her not to alter anything about herself. This song is a relaxed and laid back one, just like the others.
We finally got the most groovy and danceable song on the album in ‘The Rhythm‘. Not surprising because of the Amapiano elements that overshadows it. The adlibs is also perfect. This one is a potential party jam. ‘Tears on my eyes‘ switches the project back to its usual laid back direction as he sings about a relationship that leaves him in a lonely state after it’s ultimate end. ‘Climbing Higher‘ is an appreciation to how far he has come from the early days of his career up to this moment. He admits God’s grace has kept him in the journey so far.
Duncan Daniels’ return is exceptional and its worth the wait. Beautiful songwriting, catch and lovely melodies, impeccable production and improved execution and delivery. On this project, he has more control of his vocals and the ability to switch to different textures as the mood dictates stands out. There is a tender and soft atmosphere around it that makes it suitable for the balmy summer nights; the feeling of letting go and just enjoy the moment. Perhaps, the album could have had a perfect enjoy-ability rating with the addition of songs that have their base rooted in Afropop. Although, that does not take away the immense quality of the album. He did it SOLO !