“Slow”, the first song, gives you a minute to take everything that’s coming in the album in. Listening to it, you ask yourself, does this song set the pace for the album? Having the drum-and-snare only come in towards the end of the song kind of forces you to focus on her voice.
There are some funky tunes that get “Not” started off. Her voice comes through smoothly. ‘The negative is what makes a picture’, she says. Or at least it used to, though her saying it is a good way to remind us how photography used to work. It still drives her point home. The song asks us to understand what we hear and see, not just take it all at its face value.
In “Alright”, the story is in a way about a lover saying it’s alright that their former partner is with another one. You can’t help but bop your head to her flow in the second verse. Minor thing – I’ve come to expect a lot from Didge, and only using him for simple ‘tarara’s’ made him sound a bit too underutilized in this specific song, in my opinion.
In “Memories”, she talks about what humans remember – the feelings they keep. She asks us to ‘leave it all behind’. However, the lyrics aren’t clear about whether she wants us to leave only the bad memories behind, or all sorts of memories. The advice to leave grudges behind makes sense, though. There’s a twangy guitar sound in there that makes it much more joyous to listen to. And, in the last 40 seconds, she plays around with her voice, and honestly, that comes out really well, but the abrupt end to how she was joking around is a bit of a let-down. I don’t know, and I’m not any artiste, but I’d say how Eric Wainaina ended “Other People’s Lives” after doing sort of the same thing was better… compared to this specific song.
“Home” starts almost the same way as the other songs in the album. And that isn’t a bad thing. I only mention this because, listening to quite a few other albums from her peers and in her genre, you sort of expect each song to have a different, whatchamacallit, ‘feel’. This album-wide ‘feel’ strengthens the fact that all songs in this Don’t Consume were meant to be in it – they’d feel out of place if they were alone. Back to the song – who is she singing it to, though? She says she’ll be a home to ‘broken pieces… picked from the floor’. The ‘I will be your home’ ends in a way that makes it rhyme with “you don’t have to worry”. Nifty. I know that these things may look inconsequential to a lot of people, but to me they make the song that much better to appreciate. I haven’t seen a rhyme that I’m yet to like.
She collaboz with Taio Tripper in “Ain’t It Funny”. Hearing sheng’ in most of the song makes it that much more… funny. It makes you expect Taio to rap in sheng’ too, and even though he does it only kidogo, he still comes off nicely bouncy. The song talks about how humans only want to associate with greatness, not the struggle there.
“Helium” is like a break of rarefied air in between the album. It’s a rare and fair interlude.
“Off Beat” sounds a bit different. This track ‘si ya wadanda’, for real. Hearing “nyawawa” in the lyrics makes you laugh like only an inside joke can.
“Silver Lining” starts off in a way that makes you feel like you’re in the stratosphere. Like you’re on a spaceship that’s just scraping Earth’s stratosphere. The inimitable, tune-y twang that comes in at the “I can see your silver lining” lyrics makes it feel like that ship is doing its best to beat the speed of light, which it eventually does at the 3:11 mark. After that, you’re in a different place in space. However, even though it was my favourite song in the album, I personally felt that more could have been done to it. I am convinced that there was something lacking in this song, most likely in the beat, or maybe it was in the way she sang her lyrics, that prevented it from taking it “there”, where she wanted to take us.
Get it on iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/ke/album/dont-consume-if-seal-is-broken/1215238868
About The Cover Art
White text on a totally black background, with her name in comparatively tiny font. the letters T, E and L line up with the O in “Broken”, and her name fits nicely on top of “ken”.