Burna Boy is forever having a moment. From 2018’s ‘Ye’ being one of the biggest afrobeats floor-fillers in modern history to his latest single ‘Last Last’ being an early contender for track of the summer, he’s been enthralling crowds for almost half a decade now.
His fourth album, 2019’s ‘African Giant’, was a brilliant showcase of Burna Boy’s versatility but the subdued follow-up ‘Twice As Tall’ lacked the pizzazz of its predecessor, with commercial afrobeats sounds that didn’t always reward repeat listens. His sixth album tells a similar story, though does still sometimes shine.
‘Love, Damini’ boasts monstrous tracks including the aforementioned ’Last Last’; the Toni Braxton-sampling belter is endless fun on the dancefloor. There are also cool tracks to push the Nigerian music maker’s taste a little bit further. J Hus is the guy to do that on ‘Cloak & Daggers’, as the UK-centric and grime-influenced duo give us a show of their bravado. Hus is especially chest-out with his lyrics: “24 Hours, not enough for gangsta / No sleep, now my eyes looking like a panda”.
Burna Boy also flexes his emotional muscles with his friend and songwriting superstar Ed Sheeran on ‘For My Hand’. Over, floaty, mellow, guitar-led notes the two rattle through their heart-tugging story of unshakeable love. It’s the second time the duo have collaborated (the first being ‘Own It’, which appeared on Stormzy’s acclaimed ‘Heavy Is The Head’), and they exude a brilliant synergy across the track.There are a few hiccups on the album, though: the popular lead single ‘Kilometre’ is a cheesy interpretation of traditional Afrobeats sound with a catchy hook, and the languid ‘Jagele’ is a little Burna-Boy-by-numbers. The musician pours his heart out a capella on the final title track, but it’s a bit of a sour ending to his sixth album, as he preaches about his struggles: “There’s things that I hardly say / How’ve you been, mumma, how’s your day?”.
‘Love, Damini’ had the potential to be the biggest record of Burna’s to date, full of heart and rhythmic passion. But it falls frustratingly short: too often the tunes are repetitive and, other than the aforementioned highlights, don’t show much progression. There’s a sense that Burna Boy – a party-loving, emotion-invoking genius – could do more to make something seminal. We’re just waiting for that magic again.
Release date: July 8th
Record label: Atlantic Records