Review: Tems – For Broken Ears [EP]

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Temilade Openiyi better known as Tems is out with her first body of work titled For Broken Ears. It’s a six tracked EP that captures emotions ranging from pain, love, fears and the will to move on.

Tems – For Broken Ears

Before digging deep on details, it’s worthy of note that Tems didn’t just come out of the blue with this project, her journey right from 2018 when she composed her first single titled Mr Rebel has revealed development and steady growth.

In August 2019, Tems released her hit single Try me, a song that didn’t only show the world how talented a singer and record producer she is but also opened doors for her to become the person she currently is.

One year later, the 25 year old gives the world an extended play (EP). Here is an in-depth review of what I feel about the songs on the EP.

1. Interference by Tems

Such an emotional way to start a Project. Temilade made it clear this EP is truly for the Broken Ears. Interference is a soulful song that cuts deep into one’s emotions, the message and underneath keys can draw the faint hearted to shed a tea when in deep thoughts.

There was a total absence of kicks to the production, just piano keys, pads, and Temilade letting her emotions take control with expressions to the world. Beautiful. (8/10)

2. Ice T by Tems

After pouring out her heart on Interference, Tems expresses confidence about herself through her lyrics “ I make the Ice T”, “Come get some of this Oil, you can pour anyhow you like”.

Ice T is an R&b tune. The tempo of the Instrumental and the vocals soothes together.

It’s noteworthy that the last one minute outro of this song gave it a “beyonce” feel. With an excellent call and response which is quite brilliant if you ask me. (8/10)

3. Free Mind by Tems

If you’re a music enthusiast, you can guess what the message is telling. But for those of us who don’t, here’s why you’re here.
We feel Temilade had a lot in mind; her past experiences, pain and fears.

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She just wants them gone hence her advice on having a free mind.

The backups placed in most parts of the song creates an old-school feeling, a feeling that would take you to the 80’s when R&b was yet to evolve to what it is now. That raw sound/feel.

To complete the brilliance of “Free mind”, she ends with a sudden switch to soul, making her audience think they were about to listen to a new song. (7/10)

4. Temilade (interlude) by Tems

You can’t listen to this EP and not love this Interlude. A short and precise 47 seconds of her mum telling us about the birth of her own Temilade, A lady we all know now as “Tems”.

Before I continue, I’d like to say that for me, this project is best enjoyed early in the morning or late at night/evening when you are done with the day’s work. It’s simply for the soul.

5. Higher by Tems

Tems raised emotional questions on this one:”Why did you create a wall we are fighting now?” “Why did you give me something I didn’t feel?”

Regardless of it all, she still professes love for her man. The simplicity and quality of the production of “Higher” tells the world that ODDIO, the producer, is a genius.

*Whispers* My people, please don’t listen to this song when alcohol is close, after a bad breakup or both because the outcomes are at your own risk. (7/10)

6. Damages by Tems

No doubt this is my favourite song on the project. Everything about this song slaps hard.

Damages is proof that Tems is still a baby producer like she claims, Spax on the other hand, who is a more experienced producer, made magic on this tune.

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The kick hits hard, the hats follow the vocals smoothly, I mean, this is top notch production.

Tems tells the world through damages that she’s now woke and she’s no longer taking damages from her past. Yes, we were cool in the past, I was your baby girl, but all that is gone now.. “so tell me what you need from me now?”
Tems and Spax, great job! (9/10)

7. The Key by Tems

Last and the least on the EP. “The Keys” is Tems saying now that I have expressed all my fears and emotions, I am now in a good state of mind with lyrics like “I just want to dey my Lane” “they want to love you now after they try to take you down” to support this fact.

I actually feel the song would have been better if it had a better production to it but I begin to know what Her production sounds like. (6.5/10)

With this review on the project “For Broken Ears EP”, it gets an official 7/10. Great job.

At our roundtable discussions on this project, here are a few words from our colleagues:

“Listened to the EP this morning…and I read all you guys input and I’m trying to reconcile what I listened to and what you people and saying. The two do not match.

I understand how her sounds seem coo because it seems different but the EP for me was madly underwhelming. No song stood out. None evoked any emotions.

It’s either the production was subpar or her delivery was just muddled up in her trying to merge a patois with a laid-back vibe. She sounded like the unrefined version of Jesse Reyez. Half the time I could tell if she was singing or mumbling”- M

“I’m more concerned with the evolution of Tems as an artist. I’m not sure if monotonous is the word but since 2018 until now she has sounded the same. It’s not quite her tone as it is her voice and flow.

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A casual listen of that album will put you to sleep with how every other song sounds the same”- N

“Hi , the Ep is really calming. It automatically puts you in thinking mode especially early hours of the day or even late at night , every track deserves more than just an applaud.

Asides Damages, I really like how they included her mom talking about being pregnant and knowing it was a girl. It’s truly a beautiful Ep, it shows a lot of work was put into it. Higher is my favorite track of the EP”- E

“I think For Broken Ears realises Tems’ vision of how she wanted her debut EP to sound. I mean, she calls the collection “For Broken Ears”, and I’d like to think the first track — Interference — especially, introduces that idea.

The track has this unusual amount of echo in it. And in my opinion, all of the times I have listened to the EP, trying to pretend the first track wasn’t disturbing (a word she uses frequently in the track itself) and unsettling (because of the echo), I have ended up feeling exactly the same way — distorted, disturbed.

And this feeling remains until the song reaches its climax and dips in tempo, with her voice disappearing gradually and allowing the chords to close the song.

It is only then that I get off the invisible edge that the track sets you on. I think, to some extent, this is what she was gunning for — especially with the introductory track (Interference); as the name itself suggests”- X

everyone is entitled to their opinion on a subject matter but what will always remain is effort to be better — Anonymous

Thank you for your time

Author: Daniel Scott Eleh (@_daniellscott)

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