ALBUM: “Apolonio” by Omar Apollo
RELEASE YEAR: 2020
LABEL: Warner Records
BEST TRACKS: “Want U Around (feat. Ruel)”, “Dos Uno Nueve (219)”, “Useless”
FCC: “I’m Amazing”, “Kamikaze”, “Hey Boy (feat. Kali Uchis)”, “Dos Uno Nueve”, “Bi Fren”
In 2017, Omar Apollo appeared out of thin air with “Ugotme”, a bedroom pop ballad in 6/8 time which, to this day, remains his most popular song. At the time, he was living in his recording studio – a friend’s attic – and juggling two jobs at Guitar Center and Jimmy John’s. In the following years, he released two EPs, Stereo and Friends, and built a sizable fanbase itching for his debut album.
Three years after his introduction, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist finds himself in a different context: having left the 219 in Indiana, he now finds himself in Los Angeles. Apolonio, bearing his family name, is the clearest picture of Omar Apollo to date. Using hopeless romanticism as a point of departure, he switches effortlessly between funk, soul, R&B, and Latinx disciplines, which are all facets of his identity. “Want U Around”, with its patient bass and soaring vocal harmonies, has Prince written all over it. Meanwhile, the brand of funk present on “Stayback” is reminiscent of Bootsie Collins – who even appears on the remix. “Useless”, which sounds like Steve Lacy meets The Strokes, features some of Omar Apollo’s most candid observations: “You said I was your soulmate, but that was just a lie/It’s alright, we’re way too young to be giving out advice.” In the past, he has flirted with singing in Spanish, but not to the extent found on “Dos Uno Nueve”. The risk pays off in spades, however, because the track is definitely a highlight.
At the age of 23, Omar Apollo still has his whole career ahead of him. If Apolonio is any indication of what’s to come, he has quite the future in store for him, indeed.
– DJ Mango