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How To Listen To Nigerian Music: A Music Critic’s Guide To Enjoying The Sound

Every Friday, there are new music drops. From artists we’ve established a relationship with, from artists we’ve never clicked the play button on their songs. Either way, we all have different motives on why we consume music.

There are  times the music reaches a complex where we don’t enjoy them and we help to spread the word that the song is “mid.”

Then months later, the mid song is a jam on the street. Oops.

How do you listen to a track and get the best out of it, without misjudging? How do you avoid going on Twitter to call Wizkid’s Joro, “Trash” and a year later, it’s still buzzing?

How can you improve your listening experience?

  1. Listen, following the lyrics

Majority of us listen to new songs perhaps doing an activity on the side, or just been too keen on the song, wanting to know why it’s getting hyped on Twitter. You don’t follow the lyrics, your perception is just about the beat or the vibes the overall track is giving.

In an era where artists are embedding their stories and experiences through the lyrics, perusing through the lyrics in their songs affords you the chance of making meaning of the song, placing yourself in the world of the artist.

This might sound stressful, especially when you have to head over to Genius. But there’s a reason why it’s lyrics laid on beats. You might get the lyrics while listening but following it adeptly is much better.


  1. Take it for a ride, take it for a stroll.

This writer has a method for conquering creative block. There’s a stream near my house, like a mini forest and so most times, I load up few songs, plug in my earpiece and go for a quiet stroll in the evening. It’s surreal and sometimes atmospheric. Especially if it’s a slow, RnB/soul album I’m listening to where the artist is descriptive about their experiences.

Yours could be on a long distance journey, sitting near the window, alone with your thoughts with the music aiding your introspection. You get to feel it. The pain in the artist’s voice, the anguish, the happiness or the emotions they’re dispersing through those lyrics. Cueing up songs like Fireboy’s “God only knows,” or Olamide’s “Woyo” in this situation will make you appreciate these songs better.


  1. Blast it through speakers

Okay, there are occasions when your earpiece or listening devices are futile. To get the full experience of songs like “Wizkid’s JaiyeJaiye” or Wande Coal’s “The Kick”, you need those woofers.

Those woofers blaring out the sound in their true form. Those aforementioned tracks are club-hitters, regulars on decks of DJs in the club or at block parties. That’s the scenery, that’s the natural atmosphere. Banging sounds.

You’d enjoy some songs even better with speakers blasting them, eliciting high energy dance movements.

  1. On your bed, at night

The night is quiet, no fowl crowing, no kids crying, no mum calling. No one disrupting your listening experience. It’s you alone, and the little noises creeping out of the tiny holes of your hearing device. Perhaps you’re also in the middle of a chat. But you’re alone and the pressure of life has simmered down, all gone with the day and you’re climaxing in your feels.

So you cue up Davido’s “Heaven” and when it gets to the part where “feel so real” is repeated, you bop your head and say and ask “this song is good, how did I sleep on this.”

Other times, RnB tracks make more sense at night, especially if you’ve just been through a heartbreak.

  1. With friends

You see how differently the music feels or the vibes it gives when you’re among friends. Olamide’s “Infinity” is playing out of the JBL speaker and your friends are reveling in it. You see how different coarse voices are chorusing together, echoing the lyrics or the dance vibes they’re showing off. Hands are raised, legs shaking off moves and heads bopping and you wonder if it’s the same track you listened to.

Listening with friends is a different vibe on its own. I’ve seen people get emotional or sink into reflection mode when listening to music. I’ve discovered some great new music at times I am out with my people. Those moments feel magical sometimes, can’t lie.

  • This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Aremu Mubarak Dolapo

    Thank you BOD, I personally would continue listening to music lyrics keenly, ‘cos that’s what I have always been doing.

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