Tems’ “Born in the wild” is your soundtrack to finding your strength

Tems' Born in the wild is your soundtrack to finding your strength

Tems new album ‘Born in the Wild’ is a rollercoaster ride of feels! It hits all the big topics: the ups and downs of fame, the messy world of love, and figuring out who you are along the way. Each song is like a peek into her mind, showing how she’s grown as a person and an artist. From the gorgeous but raw “Born in the Wild” to the “hold on, you got this” vibes of “Hold On,” this album is all about overcoming challenges, changing for the better, and finding that feeling of connection.

Grab your headphones and get ready to go on a musical journey – we’re about to break down the themes and emotions that make ‘Born in the Wild’ a must-listen.


Born in the Wild” is such a soothing melody. I won’t even talk about her voice because you already know it’s flawless. I love it as the intro because it gives you a glimpse into her headspace, showcasing her journey of overcoming a wild and isolated past. It’s a great opening song, telling the story of how she grappled with confusion and a lack of direction in her youth. Despite a difficult upbringing, she found someone who offered love and support. This newfound connection empowered her to break free from her limitations and embrace the world with a sense of possibility. The song celebrates the power of self-discovery and the transformative potential of love, all without adding any heaviness to the melody.

Burning” is very 80s/90s-coded, with a smooth and soft vibe—no unnecessary frills. It follows the “Special Baby” interlude, where we gain insight into the public’s perception of her fame. The song explores the rollercoaster of ambition, with Tems grappling with the suddenness of fame, torn between the thrill and the doubts. She yearns for self-discovery and freedom, acknowledging the need to move on from past mistakes. Despite the warnings against the manipulative side of fame, the song highlights the burning passion and constant striving that come with chasing dreams—a feeling everyone shares in their own way.


Wickedest” is definitely one of those songs you add to your vibes and chill playlist. The sample of the “Premiere Gaou” remix is sublime, adding a touch of pop culture flair. I love “Wickedest” because it celebrates success and resilience. Tems boasts about her rapid rise to fame and the excitement it brings. She acknowledges the negativity and jealousy that come with success but remains focused on her goals, determined to prove her doubters wrong. The song also highlights the importance of friends and the fun that comes with achieving your dreams.

If I haven’t discussed “Love Me Jeje” before, let me tell you now that it’s my absolute favourite song of the year. As someone who gleefully hopped around in front of the TV whenever Seyi Sodimu’s “Love Me Jeje” came on, I really had no choice but to fall head-over-heels for this contemporary twist.

Get It Right” reintroduces us to early-days Tems, with a heavy dose of growth. Lover girl with a sprinkle of attitude—just how we like it. Personally, the Asake feature didn’t really do anything for me, mostly because it felt like they had to switch up the beat a bit for him. The song is supposed to be a flirty duet about mutual attraction and confidence in a relationship. Tems sets a playful mood, highlighting her desirability and hinting at a fated connection. Both singers express unwavering confidence in the relationship, with Tems promising to fulfil his desires and Asake boasting about his devotion and financial security. This is one of the tracks I’m not very sure about.

Ready” has a Sade vibe, with a beat that switches up towards the end. It’s a song about self-discovery and liberation, which is very fitting. This Tems track is a powerful anthem of self-discovery and liberation. Tems sings about shedding past struggles and embracing a new beginning filled with strength and determination. She refuses to be held back by self-doubt or external opinions, focusing on personal growth and moving confidently toward her goals. The metaphor “All grass does is grow” emphasises the importance of continuous progress.

 


Gangsta” feels a little disconnected at first, but then we get a throwback to the 90s with a sample of Diana King’s “L-L-Lies.” Tems sings about craving a partner who’s just as strong and passionate—a “gangster” who moves with confidence and shares her fire. The song reminds us that haters gonna hate, but that shouldn’t stop you from shining. Tems is all about staying true to herself and not letting anyone steal her spotlight. It’s a clarion call to owning our power and demanding respect while looking for that special someone who complements our strength and drive.

Unfortunate” is nostalgic, referencing some of Tems’ earlier hits like “Mr. Rebel.” It’s blended with smooth soul rhythms, beats, and harmonies. Make no mistake, this song is a breakup anthem. Tems sings about cutting off a manipulative ex and realising their bad qualities are actually a blessing (“fortunate you’re unfortunate”). She’s grateful to be free from disrespect and celebrates her newfound strength. It makes you think about how people who treat you poorly actually do you a favour by showing their true colours and letting you move on to something better.

Boy o Boy” is a soft R&B tune, almost an acapella, with only one string instrument accompanying Tems’ voice. In a sense, it’s a continuation—or tangent—of the preceding song, expressing a frustrated goodbye to a toxic partner. Tems is fed up with the constant stress and pain this person causes (“pain in my brain, killin’ me”). Despite her anger (“want to strangle you”), she seems hesitant to fully let go (“hold me in your mind”). She acknowledges the relationship’s end but struggles to detach completely. It’s a relatable portrayal of the mixed emotions that come with leaving a difficult relationship. There’s anger and frustration, but also a lingering attachment that makes the goodbye even harder.

Yet another breakup anthem, “Forever” carries a nostalgic vibe that I can’t quite place. It’s fascinating to hear Tems’ voice bring new life to these old-school harmonies and tunes. This song is for anyone who’s ever outgrown a relationship. Tems wants you to remember that you are a confident force, moving on and achieving your dreams. She sings about how her success makes her ex jealous and desperate, but she craves freedom and a relationship where both partners can thrive. She enjoys the attention but ultimately won’t be held back. The song is a powerful reminder that walking away from someone who wants to clip your wings is okay. You deserve a partner who supports your growth and lets you breathe.

 


Free Fall” showcases more of modern-day Tems, though you can still hear some Spanish guitar influences. The J. Cole feature is definitely a better fit (don’t come for me, please). On the second listen, it also gives off “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” vibes. This duet between Tems and J. Cole is about a passionate but ultimately doomed romance. They’re both initially swept up in the intensity (“free fall”), but Tems grows wary of the red flags (“don’t know what you’re doing”). J. Cole agrees, calling it “toxic” and manipulative. Despite the initial spark, they realise they’re incompatible (“don’t belong”). Tems builds walls to protect herself, while J. Cole reflects on lost potential. It’s a reminder that love needs more than just passion—healthy communication and trust are key. Sometimes, walking away is the best choice, even if it hurts.

I love the ‘Voices In My Head ’ interlude. We knew Tems had a great support system. I’ve borrowed three of the mantras there, sha. Thanks to all involved.

Turn Me Up” has the potential for great mixes. It’s reminiscent of Kevin Lyttle’s own club hits and is sure to be a banger. Tems brims with confidence, speaking her truth and demanding respect. She doesn’t need negativity or drama—she is a strong, independent force who’s earned her success (“fine girl, how many wars”). The chorus is a victory lap as she enjoys her freedom and success (“take you for a ride”). It’s a reminder to believe in yourself, even if it means walking away from unhealthy situations.

Of course, “Me & U” is a favourite. There isn’t much else to be said, but listening to it as part of the album gives it even more depth. It’s all about wanting that super close relationship with someone special. She’s ready to put herself out there and open up (“For me to come out, I want to show you my world”). But she needs a little trust in return (“Give me one break, I need faith to believe you”). The big message is about craving that “you and me against the world” kind of love. The lyrics keep repeating “only me and you” because that’s all that matters. She wants to be seen and appreciated for who she is (“Make me your matter, make me your person”).

T-Unit” is very cute. Can you imagine Tems as a gangsta? The sentiment is similar to “Try Me,” though the delivery is different. There’s a bit of a 50 Cent/G-Unit reference on this track as well. This Tems song is a victory lap. The singer has achieved success on her own terms (“throw it up, got the money up”) and isn’t fazed by haters. She has overcome struggles and built her own path. The core message emphasizes self-belief—her energy is unmatched, and she pities those who can’t find their own success. She hints at forgiveness by not holding grudges and focusing on her own journey. It’s all about celebrating her win and living life on her own terms.

You In My Face” feels like a combination of various styles, though I can’t quite place my finger on it. It’s like having a heart-to-heart with yourself in the mirror. Tems remembers her own strength (“inspiring things”) and realises she’s always had the power she needs (“you never left”). The chorus emphasises facing your true self, no matter how tough it is (“you in my face”). There’s a hopeful vibe about overcoming challenges with love and inner strength (“love will conquer every storm”). It ends with a question about the future, wondering when that feeling of peace will return. It’s a remarkable reminder that we all have the strength within us, and sometimes, we just need to take a moment to look in the mirror and rediscover it.

Hold On” is our ‘That Girl’ anthem. I’m calling it. We get a little of that JoJo pop feel with Afrobeat jazz sprinkled in. It’s also the last track on the album. This song is a powerful pep talk for anyone going through a tough time. Tems has been there—bad decisions, negativity, you name it (“anxious decisions, some people hate”). But she pushes back against the idea that it was all a waste. These experiences made her stronger (“I know I never trade my life”). The song isn’t about blind optimism but acknowledging the struggle and holding onto hope. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and you have the strength to get there. It’s a reminder that we all go through tough times, but we can get through them if we just keep moving forward.

Born In The World Tracklist and credits
Tracklist + Credits via instagram

‘Born in the Wild’ is more than just a collection of songs; it’s a rich tapestry of experiences and emotionswe can all relate to. Through smooth melodies and profound lyrics, she navigates the highs and lows of life, offering listeners a sense of hope and empowerment. From celebrating personal triumphs to acknowledging the pains of heartbreak, each track serves as a reminder of our shared human journey. As Tems continues to rise and inspire, her music will undoubtedly remain a source of strength and solace for many. This album is not just a listening experience but an invitation to reflect, heal, and grow.

Author

  • Coco Anetor-Sokei

    Meet Coco, the delightful and eccentric Content Editor at Marie Claire Nigeria. With a passion for mindful living and ample sleep, she's been weaving words since 2015. As a devoted mother, Coco cherishes moments with her inquisitive, spirited daughter, exploring the world to find deeper meaning in life.

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