MUSIC REVIEW: 'Short and Sweet' by Sauti Sol ft. Nyashinski

Friday May 25 2018

A screen grab of the video for the song

A screen grab of the video for the song "Short and Sweet" by Sauti Sol ft. Nyashinski. PHOTO | YOUTUBE 

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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YES! Was my general reaction to this song after hearing it for the first time full length in the privacy of my house. This was at the end of a long day of seeing all the tweets and all the hype on social media, and obviously, the trailer that they had released shortly before.

I struggled to ignore the hype all day, catching only snippets of what sounded great but wanting to commemorate the first time listen in the sanctity of my own home. I'm so glad I did – and proceeded to play it three times in a row just to be sure of its light beauty.

MAGIC

“Short and Sweet” is the latest in a long string of Sauti Sol collaborations this year, including hits such as “Afrikan Star” with Burna Boy and “Melanin” with Patoranking and that rocking, Wild Thoughts-style video.

But this new entrant for their upcoming collaboration album is quickly rocketing to my top three of what promises to be a fire album – not because they are necessarily exploratory with the music and melodies in this one, but because they are kind of going back to where they started from.

You can tell from the very beginning, when Bien launches the song that it's going to be a good one.

Music group Sauti Sol. PHOTO | FILE

Music group Sauti Sol. PHOTO | FILE

Granted, I am heavily biased towards all the songs that Bien launches, because his syrupy voice tends to bless the rest of the song with that type of magic – particularly so with this tune, where his languid, fun-filled tone sets the pace for everything and everyone else.

That toothbrush line is genius, of course, and has sparked both contempt and understanding – sure, it might be gross, but I can't name a single couple who haven't used each other's effects when theirs are missing.

It lends an obvious intimacy to a song talking about intimate things, right? Stop side-eyeing me...thanks.

The dancers looked like they were enjoying dancing. PHOTO | SCREEN GRAB | YOUTUBE

The dancers looked like they were enjoying dancing. PHOTO | SCREEN GRAB | YOUTUBE

DISSAPOINTED

There's a bit of a dip here, for me, because of what follows next. Nyashinski's verse, to be quite honest, disappointed me. He didn't even really need to be in the song, if we're being real.

A collaboration should be beneficial to both collaborators; that is to say, should bring out elements of the song that would not happily exist if they were not together, you understand? There should be value in a collaboration, not collaboration for the sake of it, or because both artists are popular and good at their craft.

I thought the lines were weak. It felt like he didn't really try to wow us, like he has been since he came back (and succeeding). I get the class and assignments line, but it isn't fresh or markedly funny, or witty.

Or maybe this is more about me and what I expect Nyashinski to bring to the table, i.e. fire. This felt like a matchstick mini-flame.

I am a sucker for train stations and choreographed dancing that was done well in the video. PHOTO | SCREEN GRAB | YOUTUBE

I am a sucker for train stations and choreographed dancing that was done well in the video. PHOTO | SCREEN GRAB | YOUTUBE

DANCE

And then, back to Delvo and Chimano, who I always appreciate, also keeping the tone light through the last two verses of the song. I loved their sections of the video as well.

I am a sucker for train stations and choreographed dancing. I also really enjoyed Chimano's sultriness, not too overstated or autotuned, and controlled as they got to the end of the song.

Mostly, at the end of this, I really wanted to learn how to odi dance like the lady in the striped jumpsuit (I am told she is called Aggie?).

The video generally was also well done. The dancers looked like they were enjoying dancing, which isn't often the case, and I also really liked that the dancing was so very Kenyan, very rooted in our urban cultures and expressions, both in costumes and movement.

There's something about Kenyan dances – and whoever makes them up! – that feels exactly like the rhythm of home.

A scren grab of the dancers in the

A scren grab of the dancers in the "Short and Sweet" video by Sauti Sol ft Nyashinski. PHOTO | YOUTUBE

NOSTALGIA

My favourite thing about this song, though, was that it sounded like the essence of Sauti Sol, if you know what I mean.

This song isn't a far cry from the type of songs that they had in their first two albums – melodies over Polycarp's killer guitar, sweet harmonies and sweet lyrics and a simple love for their lovers and lovers of their music.

Really, the nostalgia was probably what made it vibe with me, especially the way they effortlessly brought it into this year's popular trends and sounds.

Sauti Sol has always been good at fusion, and this is a reminder for those who forgot.