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Marquette Wire

REVIEW: Bakar’s New Album “Halo”

The 34-minute-album contains 11 songs including his 2018 hit, “Hell N Back,” with a newly recorded version featuring Summer Walker.
Halo+contains+11+songs.
Photo by courtesy of Black Butter
“Halo” contains 11 songs.

British Indie rock artist, Abubakar Baker Shariff-Farr, famously known as Bakar, released his third album, “Halo” on Sept. 21.

 The 34minutealbum contains 11 songs including his 2018 hit, “Hell N Back,” with a newly recorded version featuring Summer Walker.

Hearing “Hell N Back” in summer of 2022 made it easily one of my summer favorites especially for beach days. Maintaining a solid and steady beat alongside a harmonizing whistle makes it a catchy and lighthearted listen. Each song fosters the angst of young love and how this feeling can consume you. 

What I found interesting about his version featuring Walker, was the conversational tone it placed between the two artists. Bakar begins with “I mixed a lot of love with a lot of drugs, then I found you” and in response back, Walker’s part, “Know life been lifin’ lately, so I save you if you save me.” The song pulled me through a roller coaster of emotions and ended up being more optimistic than other songs of his. 

The two artists’ voices balance nicely and the spunky twang in Walker’s voice makes her runs even more enjoyable to the ear. In contrast, Bakar’s sound can be described as an effortless and chill tone. The diction in his songs and mostly the name “Halo” represents the general message of finding yourself and practicing self-love. 

The lyricism in “Selling Biscuits” reveals a bit more of Bakar’s artistry. In the line, “Selling biscuits to all these rich kids” Bakar uses the biscuits mentioned as a representation of escapism. While the instrumental part contains only a simple guitar strum and a background group of soft harmonies towards the end to enhance the simplicity of the song. 

I also noticed the reference of revenge and the action of “Throwing in the towel.” Throughout “I’m Done” and “To Open My Heart” he returns to the idea of not wanting to wait for love any longer and consistent feelings of abandonment.

Almost the entirety of the album includes a strong guitar during the first few seconds heard in “Selling Biscuits”, but in some a tap of a percussion is reinforced. I was happy to hear how the instruments in each song of the album ring true to the key features of indie rock. Most of which almost always includes minimal back vocals and a not overly produced raw sound.

Based on Foals and Madlib’s artistry and style, Bakar has incorporated these indie rock elements within his band, including drums, two guitarists, a bass and a keyboard. But what makes him stand out aside from other artists is the way he mixes this genre alongside hip hop, jazz and soul.  

The song “Alive!” exhibits the feeling of entrapment when someone is stuck or consumed by a romantic relationship. By displaying this feeling, it is successful in creating relatability for people who have also gone through similar emotions.

One of my favorite aspects of Bakar’s artistry lies within how he evokes a certain feeling from the listener. Shown in “Facts Situations”, I did not have to listen too far in to identify the feeling of betrayal he portrayed. 

The lyricism in all of his songs makes the art of storytelling one of his greatest strengths. Just throughout this one album, he was able to alter the mood of each song by utilizing his beats, rhythms and tempos differently.

I also took note of the amount of times Bakar references the use of drugs and prescriptions. In some songs he adds the act of being psychologically high from drugs and in others, he mentions it in the sense of feeling emotionally high. I like how this reference is also present throughout songs from his other albums because it creates continuity and tells a story. 

Overall, while the album’s message is strong and relatable throughout, I mostly enjoyed “OneinOneOut” because of the rhythmic beat in the intro. The album reassured me of Bakar’s bubbly vocal tone and how he can effortlessly conjoin various genres of music together. Considering the novelty of his career, he has plenty of time to only improve and grow his music from here.

I rate this album: 8/10

This article was written by Mimi Sinotte, she can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Mimi Sinotte, Arts & Entertainment Reporter
Mimi Sinotte is a sophomore from Milwaukee, Wisconsin studying Journalism and is an Arts & Entertainment Reporter on the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Aside from this position, you can find her rock climbing with MUFA, reading a good book, creating social media posts for her Marketing Internship with Marquette Dining, or occasionally modeling in Chicago. She is most excited to start writing frequently about topics regarding Arts and Entertainment on campus alongside an amazing and talented female-run desk.

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