first line amaarae‘s track “Fountain Baby” clearly tells its listeners the best possible environment for the record to be heard: “In the Club”, its gasping tone slams against a wall of war drums. It doesn’t stop there: The rest of this Ghanaian-American singer’s sophomore album resounds with similar affirmations of female sexuality and fragmented gender norms, continuing the themes of her 2020 debut album “The Angel You Don’t Know.” It introduced her to many fans through Kali Uchi’s debut on the Billboard charts through the album’s remix of “Sad Girlz Luv Money”.
With a colorful sonic palette of R&B, Afropop, guitar pop and even Japanese folk music, the album is everywhere. Acoustic strings and Amaarae’s high-pitched vocals that resonate in “Sex, Violence, Suicide” sing a lullaby about passion, but it’s the “Too much / Baby, you’re not okay” kind of lullaby. Like her debut album, “Fountain Baby” contains a tribute to the punk ritualism that served as the “second part” of “Sex, Violence, Suicide.” A few seconds of silence, then a sigh, and then Amaarae sings: “I don’t care what I ask you / Just say yes to me! / Tell me I’m the only one, tell me I’m the best”, with instrumental support from the British pop rock band Dream Wife.
amaarae tweeted About the album, she said, “My most valuable asset and biggest mistake was thinking of myself as Kanye West while preparing my album and sending a skeletal idea to five similar producers and then picking the best one from each.” However, the structure of the album leads the listener to expect surprises and new settings for its deceptive, honey-like voice.
Some artists play by the rules, others break the rules – and with “Fountain Baby”, Amaraae shows just how wide the African pop umbrella can be, leaving no question as to which category it belongs to.