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Comparative Review of Timi Dakolo’s ‘Wish Me Well’ & Brymo’s ‘In The City’

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Timi Dakolo’s Wish Me Well and Brymo’s In The City (a soundtrack to the movie No Good Turn) are songs about the aura and ugliness of the city. The former is cheerful and optimistic; the latter is wary and pessimistic.

On the Cobhams produced Wish Me Well the narrator is a young man who is high on hopes and dreams, dreams that only fit into the big city. So, he plans to leave his village and never return.

I pack my bags/I’m leaving town/I bought a one-way ticket/I ain’t coming back,” he narrates. He would later renounce the village and swells allegiance to the city. “Goodbye friends/And goodbye folks/ I’m heading to the city/And that’s my home,” he sings.

Brymo’s perceptions about the city are not the same with those of Timi. His opinion on a city is scary. It’s full of horror. The song is sad and moody just like many of Brymo’s songs. In the song, Brymo laments the death of goodness, compassion, and love in the city and warns about the reign of evil or terror.

The song starts with a news report of a suicide bomber who drives a truck into a market in Borno State and kills a lot of people. After the news report, Brymo starts his narrative:

There is fire all over the city/No one can sleep/And everyone around me said that/Nothing was heard or seen/Woke up in the city that couldn’t sleep/Is burning everywhere/And still nobody cares…” Scary, isn’t it?

But neither Timi nor Brymo is wrong; the city is a blend of good and evil. A series of events have proven both artist’s sentiments right.

Even if Timi’s Wish Me Well didn’t tell us whether its narrator makes it in the city, the Cinderella tale of Olajumoke Orisaguna’s rise from abject poverty to wealth is a testimony about the goodness of the city. It’s only in a big city like Lagos a bread seller can become an overnight celebrity and millionaire. It can never happen in villages.

But, before the Olajumoke Orisaguna fairytale, there was Timi Dakolo’s fairytale. Timi rose to fame after he won the inaugural Idols West Africa singing contest in 2007. And since his win, he has been belting out hit after hit and as well found himself a girl — just as he sings.

However, Brymo’s pessimism about the evil in the city is not out of place. There are Badoo boys, kidnappings, robbery and other anomalies, which destroy lives and properties every day. And the ‘I-still-remember’ line especially, could serve as a reference to Brymo’s fall out with Chocolate City, his former record label. (The video for In The City is more expressive. It shows a gory image of a hospital. Brymo is also a victim -he is in a wheelchair, with a broken head and blood-stained clothing. The doctor is also depressed: he can be seen seeking solace in a bottle of liquor.)

Both Timi and Brymo have had their share of the city’s beauty and ugliness. And they capture these unique characteristics of the city in their respective songs.

The city is a mixture of pain and gain, joy and sorrow, good and evil, life and death. In fact, the city is a blend of heaven and hell.

By: Michael Kolawole

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