Ojerime's Bad Influence is sonically seductive yet vulnerably details unrequited affection. As her deep, velvety smooth vocals glide over gorgeous bass guitar and bluesy synthesizer keys, she gets alluringly emotional. Her voice captivates you as her lyrics start to sink into your stomach, she recollects feelings we've all felt before.
There's so much lyrical consistency as each song drifts into the other. On 'Often Enough' she pines 'I called your phone, no answer though' and on 'Nothing' which follows, she sings 'Might've called your line / More than once, more than twice' and later says 'But I couldn't get through'. Whereas on 'Alarming', 'Mantra' and 'Keep It Lo', she discusses betrayal. 'Alarming' is more centred around being betrayed by a lover, she proclaims 'Don’t say I never ever had your back / But you still stab me in the back' after discussing the illusion of blindly loving someone only for them to hurt you. 'Mantra' feels more as if she's speaking about toxic friends, 'I was praying for your success / But you were praying for my downfall'. And on 'Keep It Lo' she ends the album with letting go of these hurt feelings and allowing them to make her stronger as she sings, 'You know I don't / Fuck with these bitches /Bridges burnt down to the fucking roach, ho'.
The features on Bad Influence all serve a different purpose. Iman Europe introduces 'Mantra' with an affirming piece of spoken word. Jesse James Soloman's soft and gentle rapping on 'Local' on the sparkling production give the song warmth and fill it with desire. 'Keep It Lo', produced by Mura Masa sees him weld his futuristic production to Ojerime's R&B essence.
Speaking of production, it feels ambient, like turning the lights down. The beats are sultry, the drums help elevate that balance between Hip Hop and R&B that Ojerime's mastered so well. The hi-hats really complement the melodic guitar. Ojerime's elongated vocal stacks and adlibs are her signature, they can be heard heavily on 'Nothing'. All in all, Bad Influence is a consistent project full of dark, intimate vibes. She's really setting the pace for UK Contemporary R&B.
Written by Kat Friar