International Music Review – Wish Me Well by Timi Dakolo (Nigeria)
When one has been involved in a near-death experience, you either come out of the pitch-black hollow clutching to Horace’s aphorism- carpe diem- or the YOLO idée recue of which Drake is a proponent, or you simply throw your hands in the air, like a traffic warden, and let life’s traffic run you over. Whatever your choice, life must go on; and the nobler occupation should be the former. Timi Dakolo’s second single off his forthcoming sophomore album ‘Love and Consequences’ is an autobiographical piece. A farewell song only in this case a swansong in reverse- if valediction is taken as the first stage of success; closing one curtain to open a door. Timi Dakolo’s 2008 New Year shooting, which had his head scraped by shrapnel, spurred him on instead of slowing him down. The West-African Idols winner found philosophy in that dark event to light this musical journey. Since that incidence he has gone on to release a critically acclaimed début album, ‘Beautiful Noise’, and picked awards along the way.
‘Wish Me Well’ follows in the Cobhams Asuquo-Timi Dakolo partnership of recent past, the two retaining their unmatched chemistry. One finds hope and promise of a better life as this song wafts through a room full of budding talents and beginners. Picture yourself sitting idly on a field with birds chirping, voices humming then a baritone crashes in in the most beautiful way, to comfort your rest.
That’s how The Hustler’s Anthem starts! “I pack my bags, I’m leaving town/I bought a one-way ticket, I ain’t coming back/It’s goodbye friends, and goodbye foes/I’m heading for the city, and that’s my home…and goodbye mama, please don’t cry,” he recounts his own experience leaving his grandma and friends back in Port-Harcourt to audition for the first edition of West-African Idols in 2007.
This resonates with everybody who has had to leave a familiar place for an unknown dream. Think of Timi’s voice; think David Ruffin, Neil Diamond, or Michael Bolton rendering a ballad. The drums employed give beat to every dreamer’s heart, while the choir ensures their eyes are shot on their target.
The minimalist production sits between Pop-Rock and Soul. The matching band-music sprinkled with the keyboard keys make this song brilliant. The video doesn’t drift far from the song’s brilliance—a ride on the time machine takes you to scenes similar to the World War II. If life is a battlefield, as we believe, then every bullet tells a story. Timi’s own life experience makes appearance as he’s a survivor of a shooting—his bullet details his transformation. The narrator, a forger of bullets and keeper of dreams—if the supernatural and the earthly have daily conversation, this grey-haired man presides as creator and judge.
Life comes with insatiable wants and needs, and we rub our dreams and plans hard till genie grants our wishes of a good life—to live well, with the lady of our dreams (no pun intended). This song and video are sure to keep your bed warm when the vicissitudes of life deliver frustration, tiredness and depression at your doorstep. Hit play, pick your dream and hit the road!
Review by Udochukwu Ikwuagwu