Album Review: The Year I Turn 21 - Ayra Starr

“This Is Not An Album, This Is A Dream Come True For Ayra Starr; At Age 21, She Is Living Her Dream, Her Success, And Desires

On a 33 minutes 13 seconds long play, with 11 songs, Ayra debuted her first album - “19 & Dangerous” in 2021, bequeathing the positive arrogance cum confidence, which is rare from teenage girls, aspiring to become super stars.

“It was a flex when I named my first album 19 & Dangerous. It was key for me to be the teenage superstar”. “I wanted to become the Black ‘Hannah Montana’ from Lagos, Nigeria”. “Naming my album 19 & Dangerous was me registering for people, “This music you’re about to hear was done by a 19-year old, by the way, I’m dangerous as a 19-year-old”. Ayra Starr tells Billboard over a zoom call.

Ever since the rise with that album release, the slim, slender, and mini skirt loving artist with an assuring demeanor in voice, tagged ‘sabi girl’ has enjoyed one of the fastest rise and rise ever registered and evolved by an Afrobeats artist.

2024, the year she turns 21, Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe is out with another album, adding to her burgeoning journey, bearing the fruits of her artistic growth, and sharing a testament to her music writing incandescence, sonical expression, and confidence.

Here, I penned a first listen review of “Ayra Starr’s “The Year I Turn 21” album:
Download and Listen to Ayra Starr’s Album - The Year I Turn 21
Download And Listen To Ayra Starr’s Album DJ - The Year I Turn 21

The long play release, honed by Mavin, the record label that houses her, gestures into a new phase of Ayra’s music endeavor. With Asake, Anitta & Coco Jones, Giveon, Seyi Vibez, Rvssian, and Rauw Alejandro, Millard as guests, the 15-song record with 40 minutes 31 seconds, pairs dreams fulfillment, adulthood, growth, and a sonical perspective to how global Ayra is leading with Afrobeats.

“Birds Sing of Money” references a bird known as the chiffchaff. Scientifically, a phylloscopus collybita, literally translating to leaf seeker, and money-changer. Deeper in reflection, and deflecting her flex ‘I learned to be a gangster’, ‘money make the rain come, I’ma take some, I can make the rain come, I'ma take some’. Ayra punches above the ceiling, braggadociously baiting her unbelievers, on what is there for her to take.
“Goodbye (warm up)” featuring Asake juggles a bop to the record, spinning a dimension that forwards an expression of vulnerability, pushing off an ex trying to encroach a space he is no longer welcome to.

‘Steady increasing the Commas’ on the track “Commas” shares an insight to an achievement base; whether Ayra Starr is referring to her number of streams, or how much money she’s is making, this song exchanges the utility on the project, aiding a repeat listen, crossfading, and nonstop play! A standout single, and a cosplay to what potentially should bear the marketing brunt, budget and burden of aspirations on the album. “Women Commando”  featuring Anitta & Coco Jones perfects a feel-good vibe, buzzing with a leading figure, pressing in with a pack of other leaders. On “Control”, the ‘Sability crooner flexes her vocal dexterity, seamlessly switching between sultry singing and fiery rap flows. Self-assuring and letting in, she calls the shot being in control for a glide of imaginations.

While vulnerability takes the stage on “Lagos Love Story”, emotive vocals reveal the affirmatives and aspirations to what she is willing to trade off for love on “Rhythm and Blues”.

Dreams come true on “21”. Dreams become reality on “21”. A song that bears the central theme of the album, rears counts of her age, the hard work, and the success she has driven.

Ayra Starr teams up with Giveon on “Last Heartbreak Song” to deliver an R&B ballad that chronicles the painful end of a love story. While expressing the pain, the defiant tune sees Ayra vowing to be independent from the break. On the flip, Giveon owns up to his lack of game leading to the crack in the love story.

“No Bad Vibes” ft Seyi Vibez creates a blend of Ayra Starr’s elastic vocals, riding persuasive waves, on a gravel-like voice cameo from Seyi Vibez, casting aspirations on every negative energy. Another standout single from the project which has potential to become the central push off on the project.

On “Orun”, with an honest and evocative perspective, Ayra Starr introspects and also makes impact while blending personal pain, lessons and demands to become a better person. Ayra Starr creates an interpolation on “Jazzy’s Song”, lifting reference from Don Jazzy’s produced track - “You Bad ft Wande Coal and D’Banjthe Mushin 2 MoHits’ album. You can’t resist the octane that emphatically pours out of this record. You just have to obey the melody it commands and dance along the rhythm as it demands.

With relentless ambitions and desire to keep the success, Ayra Starr prefers to stay positive looking forward to winning than losing on a track featuring Millard. “1942” blends themes of success, indulgence, and anxieties.

Ayra Starr pays tribute to her demised father on “The Kids Are Alright”. The album is wrapped up with a Reggaeton bop featuring Rvssian and Rauw Alejandro. “Santa” poses an aim to push into new spaces, drive journeys of growth, and add a new fanbase.

This Is Not An Album, This Is A Dream Come True For Ayra Starr; At Age 21, She Is Living Her Dream, Her Success, And Desires.

Download and Listen to Ayra Starr’s Album - The Year I Turn 21
Download And Listen To Ayra Starr’s Album DJ - The Year I Turn 21

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