The ’80s pop characterized by its guitar progressions, reggae, and Afropop fill up the air space as Runtown’s sophomore album “Signs” begins to play. Unlike the singer’s upbeat debut album (“Ghetto University”), this new album takes a softer approach, dishing the heavy club-hitter-type-song for a laxer mid-tempo production and records in adaptation to the prevalent soundscape of the modern-day Afropop, I dare say, Afrobeats in general.
The album is titled “Signs” (just as earlier noted) and it takes Runtown into his ‘preacher man’ bag as he smoothly delves into deeper themes like faith, belief, life, growth, and love. That does not mean the talented singer ultimately neglects the needs of his day ones who got attracted to him because of his ability to make high-energy banging songs, rather Runtown attacks what the mainstream music industry might consider as ‘club bangers’ with refinement by utilizing the core kick and drums of rudimentary Afrobeats production and synching them with his relaxed but matured new sound.
Straight off the bat, “Signs”, the album’s title track couples as the first track, shows off Runtown’s incredible artistic skills, speaking on the outside world’s perception of what a sign (or breakthrough in life and/or career) is but their inability to see it clearly because of searching for it in the wrong places, but as for him, he will continue to live his life to the fullest while still being like those of the outside world in search of the sign from God; “Sinnerman”, track No. 2, is Runtown acknowledging his sinful tendencies while not being bothered by people’s opinion or getting judged by his fellow men who also sin because “At the end of the day, I’m only a man / Make dem no kill sinner man”.
Two key moments in “Signs” are: (1) the sample of Sadé‘s classic record “Sweetest One” in “Dangerous Hearts”, which leads to (2) featuring American legendary soul singer Mr Hudson, although uncredited on the track.
The balance between a preacher and a man for the streets is elegantly struck on songs like “Ofe Pami” featuring street-hop boomer Jamopyper, “All About You”, and “Propaganda”.
Almost all the tracks on the album have a touch of Mystro in the production or Runtown’s; the 14 tracks were recorded between London (during lockdown) and Paris (post-lockdown), leading to the beautiful lush sound oozing from “Signs”.
Will you permit Runtown to lead you to the signs? You should! Relax and listen to his second album. You shall see why he is the self-proclaimed Soundgod.