Omar Apollo stands out with ‘Ivory’

Omar Apollos latest album Ivory features 16 new songs and was released on April 8.

Photo courtesy of Omar Apollo

Omar Apollo’s latest album “Ivory” features 16 new songs and was released on April 8.

By Gina Jagminas, Staff Writer

Omar Apollo bears it all on the striking cover of his newly released album, “Ivory,” showcasing his maturity and vulnerability as an artist.

Though his sound continues to stay fresh, Apollo is far from a new artist. He made his mark on the alternative music scene with his debut album “Stereo” in 2018.

“I feel like music for me is that I can say things I probably wouldn’t say out loud,” Apollo told Apple Music.  

At only 24 years old, the Hobart, Indiana, native has been making waves within the music industry since 2017 when he first released music on SoundCloud. 

Apollo’s popularity has only increased since then, and his growth has been documented through his subsequent albums. 

Apollo’s latest 16-song release, “Ivory,” is yet another addition to his already strong and distinct discography. The album — released on April 8 — has a more mature sound in many ways, yet he still maintains much of what has made him popular in the past.

With pop, R&B, Spanish and alternative influences throughout, the album can’t be categorized as a single genre. This sets Apollo apart from many of the other newer pop artists on the music scene.  

Carter Lang is one of the credited producers of the album. He’s worked with Apollo before but is best known for his production of SZA’s critically acclaimed album “CTRL,” which explains the R&B influence in many songs in “Ivory.”

Apollo is one of the credited writers on all of the songs and often the only credited writer. His distinct voice shines through on each one as he describes several different relationships throughout the album. 

The album opens with a short, nearly a cappella title track, where Apollo sings to a lover, “I think you’d want me to know, it’s like ivory.” 

There isn’t necessarily a single story told, but there are common threads that run through the album. The entire album tells stories of relationships, both celebrating the positive aspects and expressing the pain of lost love. 

Each song is distinct from the one before it but not in a way that seems disorganized. Instead, it showcases Apollo’s range and ability to switch up his sound.

Daniel Caesar’s voice opens on “Invincible.” Caesar and Apollo’s voices complement each other well in this emotional and soft ballad.   

“Go Away,” one of the singles released prior to the album, combines high energy synth with a demonstration of Apollo’s strong vocals and wide range. “Petrified” has quickly become one of the more popular songs from the album, as Apollo sings about being unable to stop thinking about someone.

Other standouts like “Talk” and “Waiting on You” further showcase Apollo’s range, confirming that no songs should be skipped.

Apollo often celebrates his Mexican heritage with songs in Spanish. Apollo’s vocals are the star of “En El Olvido,” alongside a simple and beautiful melody. “Tamagotchi” is one of the most distinct on the album, immediately opening with a strong beat produced by The Neptunes. Singing in both Spanish and English, it’s closer to rap in genre than anything else in “Ivory.” 

Another strong feature comes from Kali Uchis on “Bad Life.” Their voices blend effortlessly, telling the story of a relationship where the effort isn’t reciprocated.  “Mr. Neighbor,” another slower and shorter bookend to “Ivory,” provides a calming end to the album.  

In “Ivory,” Apollo shows that he isn’t afraid to switch up his sound, even within a single album. His confidence and growth shine throughout this latest release. Showcasing his wide range and continuous growth, “Ivory” is a standout album that places Apollo firmly at the forefront of the pop/alternative scene.

 

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