2face – Away and Beyond [Album Review]

2face’s fifth album Away and Beyond is a five-star display from the Field Marshall of Nigerian music.
At this point we are no longer surprised
that 2face can deliver, rather we are in awe of this juggernaut who for
over a decade has continued to dictate the direction of contemporary
music in Nigeria.
At his concert in Eko Hotel and Suites
on Monday April 30, Innocent Idibia declared that his new album is for
matured minds. After proving his mettle countless times, 2face takes his
music to a higher clime while his contemporaries and the new kids on
the block are still stuck in the muddy pits of today’s pop culture.
Away and Beyond is 2face’s most soulful
album yet.  It doesn’t play to the gallery. The soul in this album
ensures it is tight and concise despite being 15 tracks deep.
2face is really a reggae artiste draped in R&B/Pop cloaks so it is no wonder the set starts with Higher (Spiritual Healing) featuring Huma Lara. ‘Now
I see…higher than the height of the mountain/deeper than…deeper than
the depth of the ocean/further than…further than the eyes can see
sings 2face on the hook of the song revealing his ever growing musical
maturity. The piercing Indian sample on this song shakes your soul and
sets you in the mood for the journey ahead.
On his last album he saw rain drops as they fell from the sky. Resigned to fate, 2face doesn’t fight the rain drops on Dance in the Rain. Instead he embraces them as he sings ‘I’m just going to relax and enjoy my life, try to live it, try to appreciate it’.
When the rain is over, he sees the band of colours on My Rainbow. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this song is dedicated to Annie Macaulay
(arguably the most famous fiancée in Nigeria now). Notorious for his
ways with women, this track sees 2face leaving his childish ways behind
and becoming a man.
Now that 2face has embraced monogamy,
there will be distractions from third parties who will want to split the
couple. The singer treats this topic on the Drake-esque Bother You featuring the rejuvenated and impressive Terry Tha Rapman.
In Your Eyes which starts with a moody piano intro sees the bad sharp guy singing about deception, crooked politicians, unity and one love.
As an international act, 2face tries his hands on the Euro-pop craze. While Steady Steady gets the job done; Dance Floor hits the spot and once again shows 2face’s versatility. He switches it to dancehall on Spell Bound which should get the clubs rocking.
Away and Beyond has songs for the party freaks too. Keep On Pushing (which still has a clear message) and Ihe Neme (tinged with his Idoma dialect) are certified party cuts. Bad man, Bad Girl featuring Becca has the makings of a sub-regional hit song. Chemical Reaction featuring Naeto C should generate the desired reaction from people on the dance floor.
Unfortunately Omo No Dulling (featuring HyperTek artistes Dammy Krane and Rock Steady) is a case of too many cooks spoil the broth.
However, this small misstep doesn’t rob the LP of its greatness.
On Away and Beyond 2face doesn’t follow the crowd, he creates a new path. Even on the corny titled. Omo T’osan, the Captain steers his ship of female adulation to different waters.
Away and Beyond is devoid of the nauseating theatrics killing pop music in Nigeria.
Matured, calm and layered with emotion, lyrics and well-thought concepts, Away and Beyond is another great album in 2face’s sparkling discography.