Songhoy Blues - Optimisme
Critic Score
Based on 8 reviews
2020 Ratings: #52 / 794
User Score
Based on 32 ratings
Liked by 1 person
October 23, 2020 / Release Date
LP / Format
Transgressive Records / Label
- / Genres
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Record Collector

At its heart, Optimisme deals in the same joyous protest music Songhoy Blues are known for, only now bolstered with a grit that matches the multi-lingual lyrics. “Don’t worry/You’re going to be happy/Keep fighting today/That smile will come one day”. Optimisme indeed.

As protest music goes, Songhoy Blues are intent to mobilising hearts and minds in their own inimitable way, through force of will and sheer exuberance.
Classic Rock

In a year like 2020, we all need Optimisme - an essential album that gets better with every listen.


So, as autumnal clouds signal the close of a dismal year, is Optimisme justified? Is the glass half full or half empty? Well, it's a very big glass and - more importantly - what it contains is extremely tasty.

The Arts Desk
An unashamedly political album to move hips and feet from the West African superstars.
Loud and Quiet

It’s a recipe that turns Optimisme into a pissed-off record that somehow still celebrates the sheer joy of just being alive. And, let’s be honest, we can all do with something like that right now.

It can be draining having to fight all the time and on Pour Toi and the album closer Kouma, the closest you’ll probably ever get to an acoustic number from Songhoy Blues, you start to see signs of them pursuing a little calm into their world, and all that frustration and exuberance that’s become their trademark, live and on record, is replaced with tiny sparks of hopefulness.
The opener might suggest that this could be the best hard rocking album since Songs for the Deaf. From there on Mali returns with the flawless pentatonic lines the guitar drops at an incredible pace. The drums sit quite prominently in the mix with a hard hitting snare and bassdrum.Sound wise this is a classic Rock production with the acoustic outro Kouma finishing this energetic record as the opposite to the opener Badala. Lots of danceable rage and beauty to be delivered in-between.
Guitar music for the most part has fallen out of favorite with American listeners, but i’ve read that it’s finding new life in order part of the world and one of those places happens to be the African nation of Mali. Songhoy Blues is a blues rock band from there and they come through with an engaging album in Optimisme, that blends great guitar work with rhythms of their native land. Of course there’s the language barrier, which might keep sone listeners away, but the lone ... read more
Las guitarras suenan increiblemente agresivas para ser un grupo de desert blues. Suenan muy "indies". Bastante original. Destaco "Bon bon".
Songhoy Blues - Optimisme

Genre: Desert Blues
Country: Mali

Final Verdict: 53% (Pleasant Album)
Yearly Ranking: 791th / 948

Highlight: Barre

Made me think of:
Amadou & Mariam
Orchestra Baobab
Salif Keita
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Year End Lists

#44/Double J
#44/Riff Magazine

Track List

  1. Badala
  2. Assadja
  3. Fey Fey
  4. Gabi
  5. Barre
  6. Pour Toi
  7. Bon Bon
  8. Worry
  9. Korfo
  10. Dournia
  11. Kouma
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Added on: August 27, 2020