Music has always moved in eras, even though the term is morphing into a new way of describing things on social media – like Bieber in the Purpose era, or whatever. It’s how art and life itself works: you change and grow, and are never really the same person within the same year or two. And that applies to whether the transformation in question is a new album, a simple hair re-do or a monumental 'big life' shift.
For Nigerian-born, London based artist Obongjayar, the last year has been about collaboration. Since releasing his deep, purposeful 2017 EP Bassey (named after a derivation of the Igbo word for God), he’s played an integral part in the Mercury Prize-nominated group Everything Is Recorded where he’s worked alongside the likes of Kamasi Washington, Giggs, Sampha, and Ibeyi. He’s released a solo track too, “Adjacent Heart” – a delicate, stripped back ballad that brought shades of romantic love into his work, and also one of his biggest hooks. It’s kinda poppy.
And now as the year draws to a close, the era that started with Bassey is signed off with Obongjayar’s latest track “Never Change”. This one, he says, is “a reflection on growing older and seeing the world through a different lens, witnessing the corruptions and negativity that often surrounds us – and an attempt to maintain the innocence of childhood.” So it’s about keeping hold of yourself and what you know to be true, even as life around you is constantly changing.
Like "Endless", the lead single from Bassey that dug into themes of life and death, or debut single “Creeping”, this new track is also coming at you with an impressive visual (watch above). It's the kind of video that won’t make you wish for the days of MTV, like some people do when amazing ones drop, but may instead make you feel good about the fact that weirder, off-the-wall stuff like this can be beamed directly into the palm of your hand, anywhere on earth.
Directed by Duncan Loudon, the visually arresting video is worth the fullscreen treatment – honestly, if you watch it from the thumbnail you'll miss out on all the small details (like the flurry of shots that come around the 1:50 mark). And really and truly, when you experience the whole thing as one, it's more proof of Obongjayar's unrivalled potential.
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