MNEK - Lan­guage

Words Nick Levine

Gay Times Magazine - - REVIEW -

Uzo “MNEK” Emenike has con­trib­uted to more hits than you might re­alise: the tal­ented south Lon­doner co-wrote Bey­oncé’s Hold Up, The Satur­days’ All Fired Up and Dua Lipa’s IDGAF, among oth­ers, and teamed up with Zara Lars­son for the top ten smash Never For­get You.

Now, after six years of bal­anc­ing song­writ­ing and pro­duc­ing work for other artists with his own mu­sic, he’s prop­erly step­ping into the spot­light.

This de­but al­bum is a box-fresh col­lec­tion of con­tem­po­rary pop-R&B which bal­ances straight-up bangers with woozier mid-tempo tunes that some­times re­call Frank Ocean. It’s also clearly but un­self­con­sciously queer.

“Nei­ther you nor your girl­friend’s straight,” MNEK winks on Girl­friend, a witty track about hook­ing up with a clos­eted straight guy that sounds a bit like a 2018 take on Mis-Teeq – i.e. com­pletely in­fec­tious.

But whether he’s twist­ing Ul­tra Naté’s club clas­sic Free into the melan­choly bop Par­adise or show­ing off his sen­sual side on Tongue, MNEK al­ways feels real, cool and com­pelling; he’s the queer pop star of colour UK mu­sic needs.

When he says “stay fab­u­lous, honey” on Cor­rect, he could def­i­nitely be ad­dress­ing him­self.

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