Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Tiwa Savage ft. Wizkid & Spellz – Ma Lo

We end in a Nigerian club, although we’re split on what time it is…


Katherine St Asaph: More immaculate chill, but this time with a frisson of tension.

Juana Giaimo: The instruments and the voice almost fuse together in a quiet, smooth track that is seducing but lacks something — maybe a less repetitive chorus — to make it more than just nice background music.

Alfred Soto: I can sense Tiwa wanting to break this straitjacket, but, alas, this slightest of simmers keeps her at lukewarm temperature too.

Ryo Miyauchi: Spellz’s beat moves slightly tipsy, its glowing keys a little late to the percussion, and the echoes and ad libs from the singers don’t make it a stable ride either. But Tiwa and Wizkid leave the sweet melody intact despite the turbulence.

Stephen Eisermann: Tiwa and Wizkid flow perfectly with this sexy beat, trading verses about a difficult love throughout. They both sound terrific, but the real MVP is Spellz, who provides an incredible beat anchored by some terrific drum work: the kind that has me moving my hips in my chair.

Will Rivitz: Like a robot trying to approximate life, Tiwa Savage’s Auto-Tune slurs through a haze of shakers and synthesizer flourishes, wringing every last drop of swagger and poise from the limited note palate her range and pitch correction allow for. Also like a robot trying to approximate life, “Ma Lo” feels a little too hyper-programmed, pleasant and expansive but too static for its own good. If the best Afrobeats is the sound of a packed club at peak hours, bodies gyrating through every atom of space imaginable, this is the sound of that same club at around 9 PM, when only a few solitary dancers awkwardly shimmy to a DJ trying their best but not really succeeding.

Crystal Leww: “Ma Lo” is sexy and slinky, for late night close dancing in the sweaty club. I’m hoping that artists as talented as Tiwa Savage and Wizkid see some benefit from the rise of Afrobeat influences in Western pop in the last couple of years. 

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