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Popcaan Drops ‘FOREVER’ Album

Written by on 18th May 2016

Popcaan’s debut album mixed pop bangers with experimental sounds, low-key moments with huge choruses; 13 dancehall tracks that scored rave reviews and won him guest spots on tracks from Gorillaz and Jamie XX.

Four years later, the Jamaican singer returns with another highly anticipated solo release, hoping to capitalise on those famed guest spots. The results are, unfortunately, very mixed. At 17 tracks long, Forever has the components of a solid album but becomes overstuffed, needing cutting down and reshaping to fulfil Popcaan’s previously seen potential.

The first few tracks are an unrelenting rush of mass appeal dancehall tracks, featuring heavy autotune and smooth drum beats. Each one becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate from the other, following a very similar structure with no particular standout choruses. They are perfectly pleasant songs, but completely skippable (apart from “Body Is So Good”, with its notably more interesting production and a strong singalong chorus, and instantly likeable “Naked”).

The real break comes 10 tracks in with “Lef My Gun”, its slinky minimal production and foreboding lyrics catching your attention. Forever picks up from here. Although some of the songs follow that same pop structure seen on the first half, by contrasting them with more experimental sounds (that are not hoping to top the charts), they have much more impact. “Dun

Rich” emphasises this, featuring Davido as a great guest whose vocal style bounces perfectly off Popcaan’s.

By the time “Firm and Strong” – the penultimate song – comes around, there’s a feeling that this could have been a great record. As the longest track at almost five minutes (the rest are all well under four) Popcaan has time to introduce choral singers and actually play with sounds. And the last track, “A Whu Suh,” even has a slow, solo piano at the end, threatening to do something really different. (Jack Shepherd)

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