Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Wizkid ft. Tems – Essence

It’s summer on the sidebar…


Andrew Karpan: An afropop earworm that somehow doubles as the most accomplished Tems record since her breakout hit “Try Me.” The message is somewhat plain, but she holds onto it as if it’s tied into the very fabric of her soul. It’s a clear driving force around which Wizkid mostly muses on the sidelines, as to suggest that a voice of such clear yearning would be too much to behold on its own.

Juana Giaimo: Tems’ For Broken Years was one my favorite releases of 2020, and even when “Essence” is not her own song, it has everything I enjoyed about it. I love how subtle and soft all the instruments. Even Wizkid’s voice sounds soft compared to Tems’ strong presence, creating a nice balance between all the elements. Extra point for knowing how to mix in a sax in such a smooth way.

Ian Mathers: There are some fine vocal performances here — particularly Tems, although Wizkid fits into the song well, too — but it’s all the little interlocking bits of the quietly insistent production that really caught my ear. I actually wish they’d gone with an instrumental intro or outro or something, even though Tems’ chorus is really quite good.

Claire Biddles: Tems’ languid delivery, Wizkid’s drawl and mid-tempo Afro-beat might be better taken with a contrasting element, rather than all together. Drowsy.

Alfred Soto: Its concentration didn’t wear me down so much as win me over. Not wasting time on foolishness, Wizkid lays down a threat: “You don’t need no other body.” Meanwhile, all sorts of cool mournful noises swell and vanish like squalls. 

Mark Sinker: The magazine Pan African Music calls it an “ode to lust”, which sounds a bit formally old-fashioned and animal for this lovely, sleepy lope. Tems sings “turn me out of my mind” — such a great phrase — but even as a request, it’s hardly an urgent one. There’s lots more relaxing to be done first.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Sometimes, when I’m stuck on writing a blurb for a song, I just listen to it on loop. This rarely produces novel thoughts, but it does stress test the song. Exciting novelties become tedious; momentary annoyances become mountains of grievance. But “Essence” stays just as pleasant if you listen to it five times in a row, all the quirks of Wizkid’s croon becoming more endearing, and Tems sounds as good as she always does. The only thing holding “Essence” back is that it isn’t a proper duet.

Nortey Dowuona: I have no words. Because if there is anything that can be criticized about this, it’s that it’s not 40 minutes long.

Reader average: [5.55] (9 votes)

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One Response to “Wizkid ft. Tems – Essence”

  1. Heard this for the first time on radio, and it was fucking Bieber remix. Is Biebs legally obligated to be incapable of emoting in his singing now? He was a stain on this song.