Amaarae’s sophomore album, Fountain Baby, is a huge success and a showcase of her unlimited talents. In this album, Amaarae breaks out of any boxes she’s been put into previously. Fountain Baby further establishes Amaarae as a unique artist in her own distinct lane. The heavy theme of love and sexuality found within this album is bold and intoxicating. Amaarae continues to impress and evolve as an artist, and Fountain Baby is a testimony to that.
Ama Serwah Genfi, also known as Amaarae, is a Ghanaian-American singer, songwriter, producer and engineer. Fountain Baby is her second album and was released on June 9, 2023. It was first supported by two singles Reckless & Sweet and Co-Star. The album contains 14 songs with no features and is available on all streaming platforms.
Fountain Baby received an overwhelmingly positive response, and according to Metacritic, a review aggregator, the reviews indicate a “universal acclaim.” Fountain Baby is a mix of many different genres, from Contemporary R&B, Afrobeat, Pop, to Alternative/Indie, Amaarae abolishes any box she’s been put in thus far. Amaarae’s first album The Angel You Don’t Know has a heavy theme of R&B, Pop, and Afrobeat. Although these genres are also present within Fountain Baby, Amaarae doesn’t stop there which results in a genre-bending collection of sounds.
The album begins with the prelude All My Love, where we hear a symphony of string and harp instrumentals, along with some of Amaarae’s vocals and harmonizing. The album then transitions to Angels in Tibet, which has the familiar fusion of R&B and Pop, this sound continues throughout Co-Star along with an Afrobeat rhythm. Then comes Princess Going Digital, which has all the above but presented in a whole new sound of energy and the nostalgia from early 2000s songs using a call and response aspect.
Counterfeit, a cover of Clipse’s Wamp Wamp (What It Do) incorporates an instrumental interlude where we begin to get a taste of the alternative side of the album. Then we are fully submerged in the duality of Amaarae’s talent once we get to Sex, Violence, Suicide. The song begins with her gentle melodious voice on top of the soft strumming of an acoustic guitar. Then about halfway through, the tempo is completely flipped on its head and the listener is immersed into a punk rock sound with a heavy presence of electric guitar and drums. This Alternative touch is heard more throughout Sociopathic Dance Queen, Aquamarie Luvs Ecstasy, and Come Home To God, finishing off the album with an intense cry of drums and electric guitar accompanied by her high-pitched vocals.
Fountain Baby further establishes Amaarae as a unique artist in her own distinct lane. Amaarae has many points of reference and influences within Fountain Baby, yet still reinvents those existing sounds into her own distinctive touch. From the incorporation of a variety of genres and her experimental approach to trying new sounds with her voice, there is no one else doing it like Amaarae. With Amaarae’s first album having many features, to Fountain Baby having none, this album really makes a statement that she can conquer every sound on her own.
The heavy theme of sexuality and love within this album is bold and intoxicating. Romance is heard all throughout Fountain Baby, in Reckless & Sweet Amaarae speaks of women wanting to use her for her money and the pain that came with their love. The music video for Reckless & Sweet, shows both a man and a woman as Amaarae’s lovers, and captures such a dominant energy of confidence in her sexuality.
The same bold and infectious energy is heard in Come Home To God where Amaarae talks about her girl and a theme of love and sexual desire is incorporated. Having been originally a Ghana-based artist, Amaarae’s openness and confidence in her sexuality holds a greater impact knowing the political tension in Ghana currently surrounding the controversial bill in their parliament that if passed, would criminalize being a part or an ally of the LGBTQ community, and can be punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Knowing this information, Amaarae’s music holds even more power and is its own form of activism.
Fountain Baby unravels some of the many layers to Amaarae’s creative abilities. This album challenges any pre-existing boxes that Amaarae has been put into and proves that she can make any sound her own. Fountain Baby showcases Amaarae’s wide range of vocal capabilities, a fusion of different sounds and techniques, and overall, her distinctly unique ethereal sound. Love and sexuality are recurring themes throughout this album, maintaining a dominant sense of confidence and pride. Overall Fountain Baby is a timeless piece and further supports the fact that Amaarae does not disappoint, go listen to the album if you have not yet already, and treat yourself to a refreshing work of art.