This article was published on Loud Sound Ghana (https://loudsoundgh.com/2016/01/review-of-bisa-kdeis-breakthrough-album/)
Artist: Bisa Kdei || Album: Breakthrough || Label/Management: Black Legendary Music
In this our generation where every artist is “selling out” and making songs that are hailed by the people to enhance commerciality and fetch money, singer, Bisa Kdei breaks through with his classy High-Life sophomore album. The Breakthrough album is a 10-track project which follows his thanksgiving (debut album title) to Almighty God who he believes has brought him this far. Born Ronald Kweku Dei Appiah, Bisa stands as one of the most featured artists in recent times. His low-tone whispery vocal is something Ghanaians admire and find unique. He’s not the type to hit the high pitches but can sing calmly to you, making the audience listen closely to his artistic works.
With a title like this, Bisa believes this album is really his breakthrough, as he has written his name in the books of GH music with permanent ink. It is quite clear that Kdei is a man of positivity, as he keeps the album very clean for both the young and old. When High-Life is discussed there’ll surely be the involvement of love as a topic, as the genre was built on the pillars of the love topic. Hence it’s obvious that the 2015 4Syte Best Male Video award winner would be spreading the wings of love with this album.
He tells a few stories and paints pictures on some tracks. After his extraordinary usher into the game with the movie soundtrack Azonto Ghost, he proved his talent is boundless and how religious he is with Baba, Metanfo and Madanfo whiles still shaking the dancefloor with Over. On this album, these moments are kind of lost.
With albums, one is expected to be blown away by other tracks on it apart from the lead singles. But this is a kind which Mansa and Brother Brother which are elusive may remain your favorites after a complete listen. On Kakapɛ, he uses ant to create the mental imagery of a man who lives recklessly, who’s also a habitual drunk and a womanizer; thus, he connects the fact that ants are attracted to sweet things, to this man’s fantasies. It’s brilliant, but the picture painted is quite blur.
|"Breakthrough" Album tracklist|
The story narrated on Bra Bisa ends abruptly leaving the listener dissatisfied. With just 2 verses he tells the story of him receiving a letter from a lady he impregnated after a quick one-night stand following a proposal acceptance. Apparently, the lady is never willing to abort and she warns Bisa not to deny and asks to join him overseas. That’s where it ends, so the big question here is, what’s the moral of the story? Unless, there’s a part 2 being planned, the narrative remains empty.
Delving into Samina (soap), Bisa Kdei metaphorically says even as he hasn’t gone far with his love, thus not soaking water with soap, the love is deep within him. On this one as well, the metaphor employed isn’t really accurate. On 6 Strings, Bisa’s partner is apparently tired of the relationship due to poverty, misunderstanding, etc. Upon everything, the Mansa hitmaker wouldn’t mind to still treat her right and would go as far as grabbing his guitar with 6 strings to amuse her. It couldn’t have got better without Samini’s verse which lightens up the ‘irie’ feeling. You Don’t Know Me and Mɔbrɔ speak about his come-up and struggles respectively.
Fire with songstress Efya relates the depth of love of a partner as powerful as fire. As a songwriter, his pen game was satisfactory. Well known for touching on various issues of life and going very deep with words, Bisa slightly disappoints. There’s no doubt that the 3 featured artistes added more spice to the entire album. Obrafour, known for his proverbial verses didn’t disappoint and Efya put fire in Fire.
Self producing all except 2 songs, Bisa displays the talent of his fingers. Mansa which has been tipped by some music pundits as the most popular song in 2015 has an outstanding production. It takes you way back into time, frees one of unnecessary worries, puts one in a gleeful mood and makes oldies remember when the danced their feet off. Throughout the album, he made it a point to infuse traditional elements such as “kongas” and gong-gongs.
The guitar filling the background, claps, snare drums, hi-hats and padded piano patterns are truly dope! Beats were arranged orderly. Thumbs up to Bisa for delivering old but fresh instrumentals. Yesss Rudeboi’s instrumental for Samina is basic, and Mikespro’s work on You Don’t Know Me is nothing really great to be hyped.
I’ll keep comments on post-production brief. The work put in was normal and satisfactory… well, apart from Kaywa’s mixing and mastering on Mansa which was epic and Brother Brother which stand out as excellently post-produced.
How was Bisa able to begin the album with “Mansa” uplifting and energizing the listener, then just dropped into low tempo songs, making it ponderous for one to calm down and soak in his stories and messages? That’s too dragging. Some of these factors weren’t considered in the continuity of the tracklist.
Like every album, Breakthrough has its own negatives and flaws, good thing is it doesn’t outweigh the good side. I’m tempted to think he was rushed to put together a collective for sale so his 2 massive hits at the last quarter of 2015 don’t end up being performed at shows only, but become a push for a metrical success, and probably earn him some trophies. For a sophomore album, I expected to experience more classical moments but had to keep my cool. Allowing the album to grow on me didn’t do the trick. Honestly, the project isn’t that addictive. One may be tempted to skip a lot of songs, having a couple of favourites. Echo to Bisa Kdei for the music though! It takes real courage and mastery to put out such a golden High-Life album.