Review- Omar Apollo’s “Ivory”

Omar Apollo’s new album “Ivory” is out now!

After several years of releasing mixtapes and a mini album called Apolonio, Omar Apollo has finally released his debut studio album called Ivory. The 16-track project combines Apollo’s Mexican heritage with his Pop and R&B sound that has cemented him as the most versatile male singer in music right now. Ivory is both sexy and emotionally rich- and it’s absolutely worth the wait for anyone who has followed him throughout his career so far.

With Ivory, Apollo paints a picture of what love looks like for him- exploring the beauty within the pain that comes with love, as well as his own identity. Across the 16 tracks, the Mexican American singer glides effortlessly from soul baring, stripped down tracks to bilingual hip-hop- all along keeping his queerness at the forefront.

Directed by Jenna Marsh

It all began back in July of 2021 with the release of the album’s lead single “Go Away”, a beautiful combination of Omar’s smooth falsetto and pop influenced production that was made for summer night drives with the window’s down. If you’ve heard the song, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The song’s success was followed by several other releases like “Bad Life” featuring Kali Uchis and “Invincible” featuring Daniel Caesar, the latter of which was featured in my Fresh Brewed Playlist # 2!

Directed by Jake Nava

The album’s latest single “Tamagotchi” is a sexy, bouncy change of pace from the rest of the album as Apollo effortlessly raps in both English and Spanish. The high-octane track is a definite standout among the album, both exhilarating and memorable with its tongue in cheek lyrics. “Just hit me on FaceTime, feeling so good, feeling so good, singing a bass line, your body is on me, you touching up on me, we cum at thе same time.”

Another standout track is the brutally raw “Evergreen”, a song about the devastation of losing someone’s love- a feeling so universal and yet Apollo makes it feel so painfully personal. “You know you really made me hate myself, had to stop before I break myself, shoulda broke it off to date myself, you didn’t deserve me at all,” he sings on the bridge of the toll this love has taken on his mental health. He captures the pain of feeling as if you aren’t enough so vividly, even questioning if his body is what made his lover leave him in the first place. It’s that spiral we’ve all felt at one point, picking ourselves apart to try to explain why we weren’t enough for the one we loved.

“Evergreen” by Omar Apollo

“Personally” is another album standout and is my personal favorite from the track listing. The production is stripped back, mainly just an acoustic guitar and Apollo’s ethereal vocals which are layered so perfectly that they leave you hanging on every single word he sings. “Cause I really don’t wanna be here alone, too many people I don’t see no more, too many feelings I don’t feel no more,” the feeling of change and losing friends along the way give “Personally” an achingly vivid window into Apollo’s soul.

“Personally” by Omar Apollo

It would be impossible to compliment Omar’s vocals without highlighting the incredible vocal showcase that is “En El Olvido” which brings his Mexican heritage right to the forefront. In an interview with NPR, Apollo mentions how the song was inspired by his love of Juan Gabriel, who he grew up listening to. The song, which is a corrido, otherwise known as a Mexican ballad, feels so classic and yet it’s unlike anything I’ve heard on a Pop/R&B record like Ivory before.

“En El Olvido” by Omar Apollo

After scrapping an album that he had worked on during the pandemic, Omar Apollo has graced the world with Ivory, which is an incredible piece of work that somehow gets better with every listen. His versatility and fluidity bring forth a charisma unlike any of his peers- leaving his listeners sure that they are taking in the art of a master at work. Apollo is set for superstardom, and if there’s any justice in this world, he will get the recognition he deserves.

Ivory is out now on all streaming services!

Fresh Brewed Playlist #10

“That’s Where I Am” by Maggie Rogers is out now!

Maggie Rogers’ first single off of her long-awaited sophomore album Surrender is finally here and it is exquisite. “That’s Where I am” is Rogers’ first release since beginning graduate school and it fulfills every bit of expectation built by her beautiful first album. Sonically, it feels gorgeously joyous, but its lyrics paint a picture of the toll that waiting to be with the one she loved took on her. “You never touched me but I felt you everywhere,” she sings on the second verse when reminiscing of her lover’s relationship with another girl that she had to sit and watch when they were merely friends. This song will hit home for anyone who has ever felt a certain way for a friend, but it’s Maggie Rogers’ voice and storytelling that will leave you coming back for more every single time. Her second studio album Surrender will be released on July 29th.

Directed by Maggie Rogers, Warren Fu, and Michael Scanlon

“Offering” by burningforestboy is a sexy, brutally chill track from his new album STARSCREAM. The South African artist’s voice is almost hypnotic as he pours out his feelings to his lover in lines like “I won’t give you anything more than what you need Baby, you tell me what you want and you’ll receive“. The 2 minute and 19-second-long song is definitely way too short, but it begs to be endlessly repeated. The track’s success has been monumental for burningforestboy, as he’s become the first South African musician to be featured as the Cover artist for major Spotify playlists like Fresh Finds. If he continues making music like this, there’s sure to be many more milestones ahead.

Directed by burningforestboy

Gracie Abrams’ newest release “Block Me Out” is another stunningly raw collaboration between the singer and The National’s Aaron Dessner. The two previously worked on Abrams’ beautiful EP This Is What It Feels Like, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2021. “Block Me Out” is Gracie at her best- an open wound spilling out her truth with a voice that will haunt you for the rest of your days. “I think I’m burning alive, but nobody sees the fire, ’cause when I open my mouth, I seem to be stuck in silence,” she sings on the second verse of how her mind plays games with her and holds her back from the ones she loves. As always, Gracie portrays a self-awareness unlike any of her peers and somehow puts into words the feelings that we all struggle with, when the voices in our heads get too loud and we wish we could shut them down. The fact that she brings attention to it so beautifully is perhaps the first step in getting better and she’s gifting her listeners with taking that step in the right direction as well.

Shot by Arianna Shooshani

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #10 below!

Make sure you’re following my socials- lots of fun stuff coming out starting this weekend!

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Fresh Brewed Playlist #9

Harry Styles’ new album “Harry’s House” will be released on May 20th.

Harry Styles has jumpstarted his next era with the release of “As It Was”, the lead single off of his third studio album Harry’s House which is set to be released this May. The track draws inspiration from the synth pop of the 80’s, shifting Styles’ sound away from the classic rock influence of his first two albums. The single is also his most vulnerable to date, with lines like “Answer the phone, ‘Harry you’re no good alone, why are you sitting at home on the floor? What kind of pills are you on?’” revealing a raw undertone amongst the radio friendly track. Despite the vulnerable lyrics, the track feels quite euphoric- which the accompanying video captures perfectly with Styles breaking into a dance with a huge smile on his face as it fades to black.

Directed by: Tanu Muino

John Michael Howell’s new single “Mistakes Were Made” feels beautifully classic in its production with relatable lyrics and a buildup in the verses and bridge that make the chorus fully explode. It’s the kind of chorus that is sure to stay with you long after your first listen, or in my case the last 25 listens. “Mistakes were made but that’s okay, I’ll be better for it someday,” he sings on the hook, giving his listeners a refreshing outlook from someone who knows that healing isn’t the same journey for all. I’m a big believer in the fact that scars help us learn within our healing process and Howell communicates is quite poignantly in this gorgeous track.

Directed by: RAS CREATIVE CO

“The Snake” by Lana Lubany is a hypnotizing, guitar led track that is Lubany’s attempt to bridge the gap between the Western and Eastern worlds. Lubany sings in both English and Arabic on the new single, which is unlike anything I’ve heard recently. It’s sultry and vibey- and the production highlights her vocals so perfectly. The song is worth all of the hype surrounding it on TikTok right now, and somehow gets better with every listen. If there’s any hope in this world, the incredible response will inspire more bilingual tracks from Lubany who deserves every bit of attention you can give her right now. Now excuse me while I go listen again.

Lyrics video by Lana Lubany

Lyric of the week: “Long as it’s a game, I’m bound to lose, Hardest damn thing I’m gonna have to do“- Lauren Weintraub in “Missing You”

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #9 below!

You can expect some fun surprises in the next week so make sure you’re following my socials to get a first look at what’s to come!

https://www.instagram.com/brewmusicfriday/

https://www.tiktok.com/@brewmusicfriday