Pandamonae – Dawn & Dusk: Track By Track Review.
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Pandamonae – Dawn & Dusk: Track By Track Review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

by  David Olayiwola  David Olayiwola

Pandamonae ‘s debut project, “Dawn & Dusk” is a potpourri of spirituality, aspirations, love, heartbreak, legacy & personal struggles. Drawing influences from dancehall, EDM, Afropop, RnB & Hip-hop, Panda delivers a collection that perfectly fits the ‘Afro-fusion’ mold pioneered by African Giant, Burna Boy – whose footprints are unmissable across this EP.

The lyricism on this project is mostly detailed, personal & unguarded on all tracks except the Sigag Lauren – produced “Wonder” where Panda takes on the more pop-worthy themes of self-praise & lechery with uncomplicated songwriting.

The project can be divided into three parts based on themes: The first two tracks are spiritual, the next four address love & relationships in different lights, while the final song is about leaving a legacy.

‘Dawn & Dusk’ Tracklist

From least to most favorite, here is our track-by-track analysis of ‘Dusk & Dawn’ by Pandamonae:

7. Wonder

Produced by the uber talented Sigag Lauren who also mixed the last three songs of the project including this one, this is at best an experiment that didn’t quite turn out as expected. This sounds like something Burna Boy released circa 2013-2015. Some parts of it are remotely reminiscent of “Oluwa Burna” off Burna’s sophomore project.

Back to Pandamonae, this is the loosest his songwriting got on this EP. Employing popular ‘lamba’ & cliché phrases makes this one a far cry from the rest of the project. The hook may require more flavour as the repetition of ‘A man Gats Chop’ gets tiring. Albeit, the verses are still acceptable enough in today’s Nigerian pop climate.

On the sound, Reggae/Dancehall & Electronic/Dance music are two crucial elements of Pandamonae’s sonic palette. With Sigag Lauren, one would have expected an EDM-inspired tune. However, what we get is more dancehall with afro inflections.

6. Different

This is a perfect outro though. It takes on the theme of ‘leaving a legacy’ in similar shape as the outro on Burna Boy’s debut album, L.I.F.E. (The Burna Boy influences are impossible to miss, I’m sorry).

Pandamonae, however, is his own man with his own unique story and that is his message on this song. It is an honest revelation of his realities and struggles and without fault, serves its one purpose – close the project.

5. Pray.

“Pray” is a great opener. There is a particular brilliance in the song arrangement. Repetitive hooks get monotonous, it is important that the mood is lifted after the hook. The second verse & the beat switch towards the end of the song effectively stabilize the tone.

‘Pray’ expresses Pandamonae’s dependence on a supreme being for success, protection & purity.

4. Unfortunately

There are three ‘love’ songs on this project addressing heartbreak & unrequited love ( ‘Unfortunately’, ‘Cool Down’ & ‘Really’). ‘Unfortunately’ is the gloomiest one. It is a reflection on a recently-ended relationship. The storyline is easy to follow as the songwriting is concise and the delivery is effortless.

Produced by Hitsound & mixed by Sigag Lauren, this song has afro- rhythms & drum lines at its core, with dabbles of electronic elements. The vocal chops & bassline elevate the listening experience and are the real MVPs.

3. Fall

‘Fall’ is one of Pandamonae’s best songs ever. Produced by Rewardbeats, (who also created the smash hit, ‘Buga’ by Kizz Daniel & Tekno), this song is beautiful in all respects.

Pandamonae embraces his EDM influences to a large extent here. The song begins with the Chinese string instrument “Ruan” as a musical ode to the panda homeland, and is supported by glitchy guitars, vocal cuts, and other electronic music elements.

2. COOL DOWN

Initially released last November as the first single leading up to this project, ‘Cool Down’ is a song about unreciprocated love. It features a great balance of lyrics and sound. Despite the benign instrumentation, which consists of a muffled bass and gentle percussion, the song’s lyrics and delivery are powerful enough to evoke emotions.

1. Really

This will compete fiercely with “Nice & Sweet” for the title of best Pandamonae love song. ‘Really’ is Panda in his RnB Loverboy bag. Although he sings heartfelt verses expressing his longing for love, it is the chorus that really makes this song stand out. His baritone voice glides over chord progressions, that reminds of Ckay’s “Emiliana”.

“Fall” & “Cool Down” are worthy singles but ‘Really’ would eventually become many people’s favourite off the project. My prediction

‘Really’ is clearly a fan-favorite at the moment.

Conclusion

This is Pandamonae’s biggest statement yet and it is a strong one for a debut. When most of his peers release their first projects, there’s a tinge of naivete & experimentation in their execution. ‘Dawn & Dusk’, however, reveals Panda as a refined artiste well aware of his sonic path. There’s some experimentation but to a large extent, He knows what he’s doing.

About The Author

David Olayiwola
David Olayiwola

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