ALBUM REVIEW: Xtra Large - Xtraordinary (2010)
I mentioned in previous reviews that 2010 is 'one of those great years' and without a doubt, with most albums coming to my attention serving as testimony to that. 'Maroja' continue on their path of Xtra hard work with another release. Dare i say we were not even over One Drop yet and they come back with 'Xtraordinary' to increase their tally to 6.
Super producer MacDee does his magic throughout this brand new offering. Muti Wemusango has done the rounds on PowerFM and it made it's debut on the podcasts with a bang. The song is pure genius. It borders on Afro-pop with some infectious ethnic sounds and a well sung hook by MacDee. Did i mention the song concept? Well they say muti wemusango haungautore kuita muchero wepamba which literally means you can not take a wild fruit and make it cultivated fruit at home. Expanded: You can never domesticate a wild animal. Further expanded: If you marry a woman of loose morals, do not expect her to uphold marital values over her own urges. They take a comic side to a real issue and give great advice to single guys out there, be careful who you walk down that isle with. They continue to give advice on Zvarova which again is the work of masterminds with MacDee blessing the track with vocal magic on the hook. On this one Jimmy and Normara are ghosts who are complaining about how they were taken for granted when they were alive but now their family and friends want to constantly bring flowers to the grave as if they cared to begin with. It's a well worked take on how we should appreciate our parents for who they are to us. I enjoy the social commentary even though the issue at hand is quite serious and worth a moment of consideration.
The hit single High Rate makes an appearance on Xtraordinary and it touches on people who have made a fortune from forex deals on the street. There was a time when police back home were hunting down vanaChange Money (forex dealers) who were dealing in 'high rates'. I love the melody to the song, you could well dance your feet off! One of the hottest cuts off this album is Ndoshamisika featuring Nembo Bwoy, Sizara and musala wemuZimbabwe uyu ExQue. This one is a banger of all sorts on a love tip. The line up is massive and the beat is thumping. I was rolling on the floor with laughter after the Mbiradzakondo Season II skit which is a continuation of the one from the Still At Large album. These guys are creative i tell you!
Xtraordinary is Maroja at their finest and even though we might think we know what to expect, they still manage to reinvent themselves year in year out. They thrive on killer collabos and their ability to turn any situation into a light-hearted affair. I will mention this (not sure if i have already done so concerning Xtra Large), an album every year is great to keep the skills sharp but they are not giving us time to let their material grow on us. We are OD'ing infact. Zimbos generally take time to follow up on songs/albums and with us in the diaspora almost always picking the fruit from the ground you wonder why they don't take more time to push their albums so that they reach a wider audience. I would like to see the Muti Wemusangos and Zvarovas become household hits like the classic Uri Roja, that people of all ages can sing along to. We were hardly over songs like Tsano and Kukura Hakutane. Other tracks to watch out for are Kuzokutora and Madzibaba featuring Sniper. All in all, thumbs up Maroja, this is brilliant work. Easily one of the best albums this year.
Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 7.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 8.5/10