Unlike many African Gospel artistes, Moses Bliss knows how to be a music artiste and less of a stage preacher during his singing, a thread which is now prevalent among Gospel artistes…
By John Augustina
As the year unfolds, African Gospel artistes are already on their toes to ensure that the gospel music scene receives impressive songs. Moses Bliss’ More Than Music album graces the end of January and sets the musical tone for many. The album sits on 14 deftly-produced studio songs. The album explores God’s love, faithfulness and strength. Known for his spirit-stirring deliveries, Bliss’ More Than Music reflects God’s anointing and Bliss’ desire to produce good music in full gear.
Bliss had written and released a couple of singles such as “God is Real,” “Count On Me,” and “E No Dey Fall My Hand” back in 2014 to 2017, but was unearthed by the song “Bigger Everyday” in 2019. The hit track was quickly embraced by people and gained massive streams on different musical platforms. Since he came to the limelight in 2019, Bliss’ consistency, as well as the quality of his songs shows that he has come to remain on the scene.
The 27-year-old singer is known for the uniqueness of his voice texture and the nasal resonance that resounds at the end of his notes. Bliss’ songs have since enjoyed acceptance in many countries and have become worship songs sung in concerts and church gatherings.
With an instrumental dipped in guitar percussion, audible piano scales, skillful snare framework, and his light-textured voice, Bliss introduces the verse of “Powerful Name.” Every lyric in this song is accompanied by his usual nasal resonance, a skill that gives his voice a level of peculiarity. The lyricsm is centered on the power in the same of Jesus.
Bliss sings convincingly of the things that Jesus’ name is capable of. Beautifully written and creatively produced, the line that says, “there’s no name I know like the name of Jesus, no name can change me like the name of Jesus” is characterised by audible voice parts that makes the song endlessly playable.
“Zoe” starts with a fusion of mid tempo Afrobeats and Pop. The intro runs over a blend of orchestra, piano chords, thick drum work, and guitar strings. Here, Bliss sings of the untold possibilities that accompany the life of God that is in him. He expressly sings about the victory, the riches, and the goodness that this life affords him.
Being the most solemn song on the album, “Glory” starts with soft piano strings, and a brief moment of speaking in tongues after which Bliss sings the lines that say, “we join the host of heavens, to worship at your feet. We bow with the angels to worship at your feet.” Listening to this track produced in me a passion driven toward worship and reflection. Here, Bliss, alongside the backup singers, spontaneously sings worship to God in a rising crescendo.
“Hallelujah Anthem” speaks of the victory that believers have through the finished work of Christ. Bliss repeatedly sings the line, “hallelujah, we have overcome, hallelujah,” declaring the victory he now has in Christ.
Starting with resonant vibrations running on the plates of the violin, Bliss sings the track, “Daddy Wey Dey Pamper.” The song first broke out on the gospel scene as a live-recorded hit single in 2022. Shortly after its release, the song enjoyed a significant level of acceptance. It trended heavily on TikTok and gained millions of views on YouTube. Fused with spoken word by Nigerian spoken word artiste, Lyrical Hi, the song caused an uproar of emotions in the live audience and was also met with the same level of enthusiasm after its release.
“The One” is a soulful rendition about God’s good deeds. In this track, Bliss refers to God as “the one” who has done everything for him, made his life beautiful and turned his life around. The song is a confession of one who has experienced the hand of God working through the situations of his life. He confidently calls God the one that shows up every time.
As the name connotes, “Meditate” speaks of reflecting on God’s word. The track starts with soft piano scales and ordinate chants by Bliss. With splattered falsettos, high-pitched slurs, and solemn Arabian scales at the end of selected notes, Bliss sings of his decision to commit to meditating on the word of God, speaking the word and staying in God’s presence because God’s word works.
“Never Seen” is embellished with lyrics that project God as the only true God. Here, Bliss sings that he hasn’t seen anyone that can compare to God. He also reveals God as the only god that never fails. He establishes this as the reason he worships and serves God. Bliss goes over the song repeatedly until it ends.
Next up is “Taking Care.” Here, Bliss recognises God as the one who takes care of him and loads his life with blessings.
Garnished with Afrobeats, a remix of “Taking Care” appears on the album. On this track, Bliss persuasively sings about God’s constant care and love for His children. Bliss sings about the miracles, blessings and daily benefits he enjoys in God. This track was remodeled in terms of beat, style and melody, making it better than the original. Popular Nigerian Gospel singer, Mercy Chinwo, is featured.
“I Prepare” speaks of an expectant disposition towards the coming of the Lord. Bliss sings that he is preparing his heart for the coming of Jesus. He also encourages believers not to yield to worldly ways.
In “Marvelous God,” Bliss establishes that God is marvelous, and he cannot deny God’s blessings in his life. The instrumental is well-dressed with danceable midtempo Afrobeats.
“You I Live For” is a firm confession to perpetually live for God no matter the shades life appears in. Bliss speaks of his decision to constantly trust and believe in the name of God.
Last on the album is a reprise of “Marvelous God.” With the same lyrics and almost the same instrumental, Bliss sings of God’s blessings and his insurmountable abilities.
More Than Music album is a perfect show of Bliss’ mastery of songwriting. The depth of emotions that hang between every swinging rhythm, the classic sound from the violin, adventurous sounds from the piano and guitars and the fine blend of genres such as Afrobeats and Pop all make this album brilliant.
More Than Music album isn’t stale, despite the repetition of two tracks, and the addition of his old songs. Regardless that tracks such as “Daddy Wey Dey Pamper,” “Taking Care” and “You I Live For” have long since appeared on the Gospel music scene, have become anthems in church gatherings, and have been heard by millions of people, their appearing on this album offers a fresh experience.
Unlike many African Gospel artistes, Moses Bliss knows how to be a music artiste and less of a stage preacher during his singing, a thread which is now prevalent among Gospel artistes. The habit of turning a song ministration into a sermon has led to the stringent rule of “cut to the chase” during performances because many singers would rather spend more time talking than actually singing.
I must admit that some of the songs on the album appeared like Bliss didn’t really think much about writing them. Songs like “Never Seen” and “Glory” had scanty lyrics. They were plagued by inconsistent repetition and an obvious confusion on what to sing next. I understand that for Gospel music, singing based on the leading of the Holy Spirit works, but art is art, and it must be done completely right. The Holy Spirit can ride on the waves of perfectly-arranged songs, and songs don’t have to be disorganised to sound spiritual.
Beyond the sparse lyricism that dominated “Glory” and “Never Seen,” I’m doubtful of the choice for such a large number of songs on Gospel albums. Many have made it a culture to have 14 and more songs on a single album. Dunsin Oyekan’s recent album, The Birth of Revival, is an example. While this is good, too many songs on one Gospel album can also do a good job at ridiculing the artiste’s prowess especially when there’s clearly no need to add already known songs to an album. It seems Moses Bliss was held in the battle of producing more songs just to meet up with the existing trend.
The songs on More Than Music, however, are good, and I enjoyed them, no doubt. I look forward to seeing more striking albums with fewer, and hopefully more exceptional productions.
John Augustina is a writer, a journalist, a singer, loves people and currently writes for Afrocritik. You can connect with her on Facebook @John Tina and Instagram @johntina_tina.