“Emmanuel Harawa, a 20-year-old of Malawian – Kenyan descent, has come into the scene like a bonafide OVO co-sign.”
No I didn’t write that. I copy pasted it – non-plagiarized though, please put down the phone.
I only know one person, or rather two, who can explain music in exquisite lyrical words I simply can’t (yet). A few months ago, I stumbled into an album review on their music blog and immediately asked myself – who are these guys?
Scroll down the simplistic website and you will discover an archive of albums you have never heard of. And underground artists you didn’t even know existed. Without looking, I had found the Kenyan Pitchfork – know that website that analyzes music in words that you need a dictionary and a half-century background into pop culture to comprehend?
These local youngins have a cooler name, For Lack Of A Better Sound. They describe themselves as a bunch of guys who get too much into their feelings when listening to music. After following their humble blog, I knew I wanted to work with them. Luckily, they felt the same way.
Since we’re crazy about Kenyan music over here, I thought – how about we do our first Kenyan album review? They sang a resounding yes. Now they can spread some of their lyrical literature over here too.
Music junkies, welcome FLOABS. (Yes, it’s exactly how you read it)
Eric and Chia, take it away.
To Love A Woman.
This is an album about love. Love found, love lost. Its joys, its dangers and, most importantly, the repercussions.
‘It’s two AM and I’m blowing up your voicemail’.
Harawa sings from the end of the tether that is his belief in love. In this society, true love is an ideal to which we are all taught to seek consciously and subconsciously. Friends happy in relationships, the romantic subplots in almost everything we watch, sunny skies -it follows us everywhere. In uncovering this ruse, he looks directly into Cupid’s eyes and lists his demands.
‘Look into my eyes when you make love to this soul’.
In ‘Say My Name’, the stand out single of the project, validation is all that is sought. Like a never-ending lucid dream he looks for his bearings, blindly groping through love, searching for a sign. This is real. It has to be. He just needs to hear it.
‘Cause I’m in too deep and I don’t think I can pull out’
The album sounds a lot like 6lack and Trapsoul era Bryson Tiller. Harawa’s lyricism is just as passionate and his roster of producers just as talented.
The production is dark and sultry. It stays largely the same throughout the entire project but, like the pages of a journal, it suits the 2017 album’s love-worn theme.
‘I know I ain’t perfect but darling please’
On ‘Right Here’, he paints a picture of this woman. She poses right in the middle of the room and his paint brush rests on canvas. It’s not just her body he’s interested in. He wants her. Her inner beauty. He wants to keep her close and hang her on his wall; that way he’ll never lose her and she’ll never leave him.
‘All those days in hell and you can’t see that you’re heaven sent’
The two interludes flow like liquid lust. On ‘Your Love’, he looks deeper. This is the person he loves and he is done playing games. He wants to make time for her, starting tonight.
On ‘Fade Away’, all he wants is his memory of her to stay solid.
The Love Lost series (Part 1&2) is the peak of the story that Harawa weaves on this album. In the final quarter of the story; shit has hit the fan. He traces the end of a relationship. Breakups aren’t candles dying off or the light flicking out instantly. Like the sunset, it is gradual. It erodes slowly until you can’t recognise it for what it was in the beginning.
Love takes a toll on us. On ‘Sunshine’, Harawa admits this. Love can’t be your refuge. It can’t be a source of meaning. It’s sad but it’s true.
In less than 30 minutes, Harawa tells us what it means to love a woman. In the end, it’s all in the journey. The joys of love aren’t in who you meet. It’s in everything else. The how, the why, the when. Harawa chronicles his experiences for us in this album and it is beautiful.
LaMusicJunkie Rating : 8/10
Craving for more lyrical literature? If I were you, I’d accidentally stumble into For Lack of A Better Sound.
In the meantime, let Harawa explicitly show you how it is To Love A Woman.