I’m back for NNAMDÏ’s newest album, Please Have a Seat. NNAMDÏ remains an expert at crafting catchy, entertaining, and beautiful music, and this album is absolutely worth your time. What follows are my thoughts after my first listen.

I’m a little late to the game here — the album came out a week ago and I haven’t had the chance to listen until now. I wanted to take the time to sit down and have a proper listen, and I’m glad that I did.

To me, the throughlines of this album are excellent use of dynamics and song structure, a skillful blend of genres, terrific vocal harmonies and layers, and beautiful drum playing.

A lot of what NNAMDÏ does on this album will feel familiar if you’ve listened to DROOL or BRAT. He’s got super energetic and hyper drum programming and synth solos, like on DROOL. This album uses NNAMDÏ’s versatile voice in the same beautiful way he uses it on BRAT, and carries along some of the guitar playing from that album. Please Have a Seat plays to NNAMDÏ’s already-proven strengths and demonstrates new ones. This album features a lot more tone shifts during a single song than I remember from NNAMDÏ’s previous work, which was genre-ranging but not within one song.

NNAMDÏ’s skill as a drummer shines on this album, both in the drum programming and in the sections where he played real drums. They’re very different sounds, but he uses each style when appropriate. Plus, the real drums sound terrific in the mix.

Another thing I appreciate from this album is the little interludes and skits scattered throughout. This sort of thing was a lot more prominent on Bootie Noir, and I’m happy to see it finally make its return.

NNAMDÏ really has a knack for building up a song over time. He starts from a small but catchy riff or groove of some kind and introduces elements until we reach an explosive peak. For example, it happens on “Dedication,” which begins with an abrasive electronic introduction that reminds me of SOPHIE, before building up to a bright explosion. That’s followed up by a group of people singing at the top of their lungs. “Benched” also has a wonderful build that recontextualizes the vocal rhythm several times. The following two tracks also have big moments of build-up.

I’m especially curious to go back and re-listen to “Grounded,” which sounded (to my ear) sonically new for NNAMDÏ. I loved the melody and textures of this song. The vocal processing seemed different than his other work and somewhat reminded me of the album Hawaii: Part II by (Tally Hall side project) ミラクルミュージカル.

This album is going to be very rich for re-listening. I’ve gotten a lot out of my many listens of NNAMDÏ’s previous work, and I know that Please Have a Seat will follow suit. It’s filled with lots of smaller elements and creative choices that will become more obvious and familiar once I can really get to know the album. Listening to an album once and forming and impression is a good experience, but really getting to know the music is another thing. BRAT featured heavily in my nighttime walks in 2020, and I think that Please Have a Seat would also be an excellent album to nighttime-walk to.

The album’s pacing is interesting: None of the first six tracks exceed 2:30, and then number seven, “ANXIOUS EATER,” clocks in at over four minutes. For the rest of the album, each track is around three minutes at a minimum, with the closer being over five minutes, in part thanks to its lengthy (and wonderful) outro. This pacing definitely affected my experience of the album. In the first section of the album, we move quickly from song to song as we start to get an idea of what this album will shape up to be. Once we settle in — once we have a seat — we’re able to give each track a little more time to develop itself. I think there’s a reason all of the tracks I identified as having long buildups fall in the latter half of the album.

As I write this, NNAMDÏ is preparing to go on tour, mostly to the midwestern and eastern USA. I’ll be seeing him live (which will be my first time seeing him in concert!) and I’d highly encourage you to go as well. He’s a very talented musician with a wonderfully unique style. If you’re curious about what he might be like live, check out this live-streamed performance.

I can’t wait to see how my relationship with this album develops after many more listens.