RAPID REVIEWS: MAY D’S CHAPTER ONE
The Song is the Thing.
Sometimes the best pop music is frivolous fun, a song, an album of danceable melodies without much thought given to lyrics. The trick is not to try too hard: can the artist make the thoughtless effortless?
For Mr MayD, the answer is a resounding yes. Song after song on “Chapter One” is packed with sweet and senseless singing.
Save for a funny French line on “So Many Tinz,” the language of “Chapter One” is unpretentious; Pidgin, Yoruba and Yoruba-accented English find place. And the music is rooted in the rhythms of Nigerian music from the 1990s. A lot of time has passed for the appeal of his music to depend on nostalgia of a certain kind.
Yet Chapter One is not without novelty—the most noteworthy being an album arrangement that has a song flow into another without a stretched pause. He hasn’t come to preach or lecture, Mr. MayD just wants you to dance.
Chapter One doesn’t announce the arrival of a good songwriter or a great voice. But as The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones has noted: “Pop…as a primarily recorded form… doesn’t reward the most gifted players.
“The song is the thing.”