Obongjayar — Some Nights I Dream of Doors — Album Review
Soul | Indie | Electronic
Obongjayar; what I would call one of the most underrated artists of the 2020’s. Despite this, I admittedly did discover the Nigerian-born musical artist back in late 2018 with the standalone single “Never Change”. From this, I was able to really get a sense of Obongjayar’s unique vocal style, which added a type of soulfulness unlike anything I had heard before.
From there, the only way seemed to be up for the artist. From the release of the phenomenal EP Which Way is Forward? (my favourite EP of 2020), to various appearances on albums like Danny Brown’s uknowhatimsayin? and Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. As amazing as the latter album I mentioned is, it’s a shame to see “Point And Kill” seemingly as the closest thing to exposure most listeners have had to Obongjayar, judging by the fact that it is the most popular “Obongjayar” song on Spotify currently, despite technically being a Little Simz song first and foremost.
But 2022 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for the artist either way, as heralded by the arrival of Obongjayar’s debut album, titled Some Nights I Dream of Doors.
This album was teased way back in the later half of 2021, with the first teaser track “Message in a Hammer”, being released shortly after Obongjayar’s collaborative EP with African DJ Sars, titled Sweetness. But from this teaser track, it was easy to see that Obongjayar’s style was evolving further. Taking more of a departure from the traditional soul vibe that made projects like Which Way is Forward? so enjoyable, Some Nights I Dream of Doors ventures more towards a more accessible electronic framework. Nevertheless, that unique Obongjayar twist is certainly not lost.
This idea seemed to only strengthen through later teasers, such as “Try” and “Tinko Tinko (Don’t Play Me For a Fool)”. And upon the release of the album in its entirety, the overall musicality of the project absolutely glistens. There’s no doubt that Some Nights I Dream of Doors is sonically just as colourful and vibrant as the record’s album cover.
But the impressive aspects of this album certainly don’t stop there. I feel that this may just be the best project Obongjayar has ever released, in regards to its narrative too. As the album’s title suggests, and its title track elaborates upon, Some Nights I Dream of Doors tells of Obongjayar’s own journey of desperately seeking happiness, self worth, and breakthrough.
But while this perhaps wasn’t intentional, this album connected with me in a different way. As someone who has been searching for their own sanctuary and safe space, to grow and become a better version of myself, it was this sentiment which allowed me to engage so heavily with this album. I know it may be a biased reason to enjoy this project, but it is still more than easy to do so without.
For a debut album, Some Nights I Dream of Doors is a very special one of that. If you haven’t had chance to listen to this amazing artist yet, this record is the perfect way to start things off.
Favourite Tracks: Try | Message in a Hammer | Wrong for It | Tinko Tinko (Don’t Play Me For A Fool)
Least Favourite Track: Sugar
Obongjayar | September Recordings