Decagon is a testament to Anendlessocean’s ability to curate a project that nourishes the soul with spiritually charged songs and captivates the senses with his unique artistry.
By Emmanuel Okoro
Decagon is the full-length debut album from fast-rising, talented Nigerian Soul Gospel singer, songwriter, and producer, Anendlessocean – phonetically pronounced as ‘An Endless Ocean.’ While firmly rooted within the gospel realm, he recently emphasised on X (formerly Twitter) that his identity is shaped by his aura and belief which transcends the constraints and restrictions of genres, labels, and other artistic boundaries.
Decagon, in some way, reignites the question of whether Nigerian gospel musicians have a place in mainstream music, and the answer is more than obvious. Gospel artistes such as Moses Bliss, Nathaniel Bassey, Tim Godfrey, Limoblaze, Dunsin Oyekan Prinx Emmanuel, Sinach, Mercy Chinwo, and Ada Ehi, are making their presence known, sharing “most played artistes” spot with other secular musicians on music streaming platforms. This reflects a cultural shift, revealing an acceptance and appreciation for their artistry. Anendlessocean is yet another promising template for this conversation, as while still relatively new to the gospel music industry, has gradually become a sensation.
Born in Lagos, Alli Hakeem Ayobami, better known as Anendlessocean or AEO, began his musical journey in 2015. However, it was in 2018 that he made his official entry into the music scene with the release of his soulful track “Falala.” But it was the 2020 release, “Alakori,” that moved Anendlessocean into the forefront of the music landscape. The impact of this track resonated widely, certifying him as an artiste to look out for. Since then, Anendlessocean has maintained a steady upward trajectory with each new release.
In 2021, he released Apeirogon, his debut EP, a project that garnered significant acclaim and racked up over 100k streams across various digital music streaming platforms. The EP showcased his artistic depth and introduced audiences to his mellow, highly spiritual, and introspective sound.
He kicked off 2022 with “Nazarene,” which became a viral sensation and made him a presence in the vibrant Nigerian gospel scene. Later that year, he unveiled the “C’est la vie/Imagine” two-track pack, showcasing his knack for captivating melodies and lyrical depth. It was no surprise that he ended up on talented discovery lists in Pulse and Zikoko magazines. As the calendar flipped to 2023, Anendlessocean released “JI,” “Exchange,” and “Alone,” offering a tantalising preview of what Decagon promises to deliver.
This debut LP sees Anendlessocean closing the gaps between faith and artistic exploration. It sits atop 11 songs, and with a runtime of half an hour, he focuses on a singular theme while maintaining his signature dynamism – blending the English language with his native Yoruba tongue.
Decagon kicks off with “L.N.B (Life Not Borrowed).” The song unfolds gently, set against mild staccato beats and stirring chords, it sets the stage for Anendlessocean’s emotive expression. It is a heartfelt declaration of submittal to God. The song is a testament to his unyielding connection with God, a sentiment that echoes throughout the track and, by extension, the project. Lyrics like “You’re the one who holds my today and my tomorrow/My life’s not borrowed,” encapsulate his absolute trust in God’s presence in his life and showcase his profound faith. The chorus, aided by background vocals in Yoruba, adds more depth to the song’s theme. “L.N.D (Life Not Borrowed)” sets a strong foundation for the rest of the album.
“JI” comes next, a mid-tempo composition that fuses Afrobeats with R&B. This musical fusion is marked by numbing chords that resonate with emotional depth, complemented by moments of brilliance from a violin. Anendlessocean sings about God’s goodness, and the relationship he had found with Him. The song’s essence encapsulates the idea that this divine connection is irreplaceable. While “JI” is richly ladened with appreciation, a profound undercurrent of dependence and reliance runs through its lyrical fabric. The visuals accompanying “JI” further elevate the song’s message.
Decagon undergoes a sonic shift with “Bire.” It is a lively tune that pulsates with Amapiano energy, backed by electro chords and frantic beats. Here, Anendlessocean offers a ballad of praise revealing the profound impact of his spiritual tie with God. Through his heartfelt lyrics, it becomes evident that this newfound bond has left an indelible mark on him as he now shares a likeness with God. Lines like “You leave me enchanted/My heart has an address; it resides with you” illustrate his submission to the Almighty. The synergy between Anendlessocean’s lyrics and the excellent production elevates “Bire” to a standout number within the project.
“Alone,” one of the album’s leading singles, charges in with an uplifting array of sonic elements and highly spirit-charged lyrics. Anendlessocean delves into the transformative power of God’s divine love and its ability to provide a sense of completion. His lyrics serve as a reminder that in the embrace of God’s love, one can find solace and wholeness. Anendlessocean’s vocal inflexions and masterful delivery seamlessly merge with the production, making it a worthwhile listen. The song has also made waves on social media platforms, giving rise to the #AloneChallenge on TikTok and Instagram.
Decagon takes a new course with “What We Have,” a low-tempo number that carries a pensive ambience characterised by contemplative keys and subtle hints of log drums. Here, Anendlessocean delves into his intense connection with God, expressing an uncommon bond he will embrace for as long as it takes. Despite its thematic depth, the repetitive structure of the track does make one long for a more dynamic musical progression.
The album’s midpoint and interlude, “Ibquake’s Interlude,” offers a gentle respite from the music. Anendlessocean temporarily steps back from the spotlight to make way for the compelling spoken word poetry by Ibquake, a seasoned spoken word artiste. Her lines ring with a sense of measured reflection. Her poetry, although painfully brief, is weighty, as it unravels against faint local sonic elements.
With resolute chords punctuating the air, the album takes a potent turn with the arrival of “IMI.” In this track, Anendlessocean’s passionate voice invites the Holy Ghost into his life, weaving a tapestry of devotion to the creator. Through his lyrics, he opens up a dialogue with the divine, expressing a heartfelt desire for spiritual presence and guidance.
“Wildfire” joins the previous track, embracing a sonic landscape with jarring beats and reverberating bass. Anendlessocean’s lyrical narrative ignites a metaphorical blaze, invoking the Spirit of God to dwell within his heart. The song paints a vivid picture of spiritual transformation, as a divine presence spreads through him like an unstoppable wildfire.
A notable gem emerges in the form of “Exchange.” At first listen, one might easily mistake it for a love song dedicated to a romantic interest. But of course, this is a gospel album, and upon deeper exploration, such sentiments are easily discarded. “Exchange” is an introspective ode to submission and deepest assurance in God’s presence. Amidst the gentle cadence of low-tempo drums and the haunting allure of faint, penetrating chords, Anendlessocean conveys the assurance that as he navigates life’s challenges, he is enveloped by the guiding light of God’s spirit.
“Imagine,” another of Decagon’s rollouts, comes next. The song is stripped down to its core, riding solely on the gentle embrace of chords and violins. In this ethereal arrangement, Anendlessocean’s voice carries his introspective and faith-driven lyrics. He channels sincere gratitude, acknowledging that God is a constant presence even when he feels unworthy.
Anendlessocean masterfully closes the album’s narrative with the soul-lifting anthem, “Nazarene.” Despite being the oldest single on the project, this track unquestionably emerges as the album’s best output. The song commences with a surge of excitement as Anendlessocean exclaims his identity as a bearer of Nazarene’s ring — the symbol of Christ’s presence in his life. This proclamation is of great significance, as Christians worldwide can share similar views of bearing the mark of Christ. Throughout the song, Anendlessocean reflects on the spiritual elevation he experiences as he is lifted by God’s grace and drawn towards heaven. The verses in the English language and the chorus in his native Yoruba weave together, demonstrating a remarkable interplay and cohesiveness that defines the song’s popularity in 2022.
Decagon is thematically consistent from start to finish. While it is possible for such thematic cohesion to cause an album to become monotonous-sounding, Anendlessocean’s dynamism ensures that each track shines in its own right.
This album is a testament to Anendlessocean’s ability to curate a project that nourishes the soul with spiritually charged songs and captivates the senses with his unique artistry. As a debut LP, Decagon sets a fantastic and promising journey ahead for the artiste.
Lyricism – 1.7
Tracklisting – 1.4
Sound Engineering – 1.3
Vocalisation – 1.5
Listening Experience – 1.5
Rating – 7.4/10
Emmanuel Okoro is a content writer and journo with an insatiable knack for music and pop culture. When he’s not writing, you will find him arguing why Arsenal FC is the best football club in the multiverse. Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads: @BughiLorde