Having a true affinity for melody is a gift that is hard to come by. On the opening track “I’m Amazing” from his new album Apolonio, Omar Apollo sings, “We still fuck on the side, and it’s just you and I.” Then atop of that is him singing a higher-pitched repeated phrase, “don’t make me wish I didn’t.” As you hear all the notes blend, you can’t help but acknowledge he is a rare breed. The smoothness of the delivery, coupled with the immediate stuck in your head quality of the combined refrains, locks your ear into the musical journey of his new project in an instant.
Apollo has semi consistently been putting out top-tier music since 2017. With his debut project, Stereo in 2018, it was clear that he would be undeniable as a singer, guitar player, and bassist. The first song that jumped out to me that perfectly combined all three was “Ugotme,” with its stank face inducing bassline, seductive guitar strums, and glossy falsetto. On Apolonio with the track “Want You Around” feat. Ruel, Apollo achieves this level of tonal euphoria at its peak level since that introductory track. Apollo seems to channel bass playing of Marcus Miller on a Luther Vandross song, guitar by Prince mixed with Donnell Jones, and Miguel and Trey Songz vocals. Not to mention the closing feature by Ruel feels as perfectly placed as caramel on a sundae.
Another clear standout of the project is the entirely Spanish sung “Dos Uno Nueve (219).” Apollo layers two acoustic guitars, as well as more traditional Bolero/Ranchera sounds with carefully placed R&B vocal elements. The song represents his Northwest Indiana area code, where Apollo was raised. I will assume the track is somewhat an ode to his family and is perfectly placed in the album’s sequencing.
For the rest of the project, whether it’s a funk-infused R&B track like “Stayback” or a spacey rhythm fused with Playboi Carti and Gunna styled flows on “Bi Fren,” Apollo keeps his sound true. His range is impeccable while still maintaining an authentic pocket. Omar Apollo has created a project in Apolonio that not only gives immediate satisfaction but will undoubtedly grow on you.