By Kate McBride || Arts & Leisure Editor

Image Courtesy of nme.com.

On his electric debut album, 24 year-old Omar Apollo wears his heart on his sleeve. Ivory is a collection of sultry, intimate ballads that contend with unrequited crushes, confusion, and resentment. Apollo refuses to commit to a single genre; he takes his soft, magnetic vocals on a journey through glossy alternative R&B, guitar-laced latin, indie, and hip-hop. Each track is magically distinct from one another—his range is incredible.

Ivory is complemented by features from musical giants Kali Uchis (Bad Life) and Daniel Caesar (Invisible), whose vocals dance with Apollo’s in a way that is nothing short of intoxicating. 

Tamagotchi is a bouncing, punchy number that dips into bilingual lyricism, with notes of both Spanish and English. The melody got the seal of approval from Tyler, the Creator, who shared a voice note on Instagram expressing his love for the song: “I don’t even think you realize you got a f****** banger on your hands!” Killing Me explores the balance between carnal lust and romantic love, while Go Away is guided by love that is fleeting. Apollo’s electric collaboration with Kali Uchis on Bad Life addresses the inner struggle that accompanies the journey of moving on from a former lover. The Uchis-Apollo collaboration deserves some extra love, as Apollo spoke about the fact that he wrote a total of 26 versions of the ballad before being satisfied with the final track. 

Ivory is the perfect culmination of Omar Apollo’s talents. He can jump from the hard-hitting, jam-packed flow of Tamagotchi and No Good Reason to the slow, sultry tone that comes to life in Petrified (my personal favorite track) and Evergreen. Each track comes together to create a unique sense of authenticity. 

This record is a commanding start. It is worth keeping a finger on the pulse of Omar Apollo’s work, as his talents are nothing short of extraordinary. Ivory is a gift— and it is only the beginning. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Sophomore Kate McBride is the Arts & Leisure Editor. Her email is kmcbride@fandm.edu.

By TCR