“For Your Soul” is a deep exploration of Reno’s essence as an artiste
A big factor in music these days isn’t just the lyrics, but the production as well. In fact, in most cases, the production can either make or break a song. Getting the right instrumentation can be painstakingly difficult, but it’s one that certainly has its own rewards. This is a sentiment shared by rising Nigerian music star, Reno.
The budding artiste recently dropped his brand new EP, “For Your Soul” and it’s permeated with top-notch production all the way through. The 22 year old starts off the EP with “Memories,” a deftly produced record. Inspired by a bad relationship which Reno experienced, lyrics such as “all you do is lie” and “you be giving me sleepless nights,” do well to shine a light on the negativity he endured. However, as a whole, the track is easily one of the weakest on the EP and is perhaps not the best piece to kick off the project. It suffers from a lack of lyrical ingenuity and there’s only so much great production can do for you.
Track number 2, titled “No Doubt,” cuts across as one of the best songs on the EP. The electric guitar strums at the intro immediately give the song a lift, even before the lyrics come in. When the lyrics do come in, Reno’s vocals merge perfectly with the laid-down instrumentation.
As verse 1 kicks in, a heavy beat is added to the production, giving it a more solid arrangement. Lyrically, he gets it right, as he pours out his heart about his current girl, affirming the fact that he has “no doubt” about her. His lyrical innovation is impressive and the chorus is incredibly catchy. It’s a five star track and there’s “no doubt” about it.
“Casablanca” comes in at number 3 and starts off with sombre piano chords, before the soundscape is revved up with a soft mid-tempo drum kit. The track draws its origin from two sources. The first verse speaks about Reno’s experience with love and his behavior towards the idea of love. On reaching the mid-section of the song, Reno’s lyrics take a turn as he sings, “Mr. Soldier, please do not fire.”
This expressive line speaks about the Lekki Massacre which occurred on October 20, 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria. It’s an event which has stuck with many of the youth in the country and Reno is just one of the few artistes, bold enough to sing about it. He does a stellar job at keep both origins of “Casablanca” engaging. The lyrics are also well-crafted, as he finds the right words to tell his story. It’s another strong point on the EP and showcases Reno as an emotionally-aware artiste.
“Sober For You” comes next and is probably the most energetic piece on the project. It starts off with an infectious Caribbean-styled production with the slickest of soundscapes. You might find yourself grooving to the beat, that’s just how appealing the track is. It’s a song he conjured up to express how being with his girl makes him feel.
Lyrically, the verses of this track shine as Reno clearly communicates the message he’s sending across. The chorus on the other hand, could have been a bit better and it’s the only aspect of the song that suffers. It seems he couldn’t find the words to make the chorus a bit more engaging and went for the easy route, relying on melodic vocalization. Nevertheless, the groovy beat saves the track and manages to make “Sober For You,” a worthwhile listen.
The final track is “Uneven,” which stands out as possibly the best-produced track off the EP. It begins with a sharp, melodic electric-guitar led intro that quickly develops into a sublime production construct. For some reason, the chorus doesn’t have any lyrics and you’re left to enjoy this wordless section, but the emotive instrumentation totally makes up for it.
It’s another track that showcases Reno’s need for growth in his penmanship, as can be heard on the verses. It’s an aspect of his artistry that will need some work and will aid his development as a musician. The beautiful violin-led arrangement at the chorus section is enough to give this track a thumbs up.
“Uneven” is the record where Reno speaks about magnitude of the challenges he has faced and the scars gotten in the process. He realises that his scars are “uneven” as some have a more lasting effect than others. It’s a good song to close out the project and keep the listeners yearning for more. There’s still a lot of growth awaiting Reno, but for now, “For Your Soul” is the perfect compass to tell what direction he’ll be heading in.
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