Omar Apollo “Ivory” Album Review


Omar Apollo

    • Genre: Pop
    • Release Date: 2022-04-08
    • Explicitness: explicit
    • Country: USA
    • Track Count: 16
  • ℗ 2021, 2022 Omar Apollo under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

The long-awaited ‘Ivory’ is a collection of gorgeous, sultry songs that contend with the angst of feeling like you’re the only person who is truly awake and alive in an otherwise sleepy world. This first LP continues his trend of integrating styles. Influenced heavily by his Mexican-American heritage, Ivory blends Spanish and English for a refined and progressive debut pop record.

Ivory gives Omar Apollo the fullest platform to display his songwriting, vocal dexterity and the converging musical styles that influence him.

Album Cover Artwork

Omar Apollo is in a portrait photograph coloured black and creamy white. Lights hit him from one corner, revealing one side of him and casting a shadow on the other. The words “Ivory”, which is also the album title, is written across his chest to suggest him to be the Ivory or ivorine as the case may be.

And from what is known about Ivory, it is the hard white form of dentin that forms the tusks of elephants. Its creamy white colour matches that of the album art. It is more like a revelation of something new happening in parts. Omar is showing a new side of a rebranded version of him but in bits, starting with Ivory.

Songs and Features

On ‘Killing Me’, he observes an unravelling romance with hawk-eyed intensity (“Love me like I’m gonna die”). At the same time, the emotionally climactic ‘Invincible’, a tender collaboration with Toronto vocalist Daniel Caesar, makes the business of a protracted breakup romance feel like high-stakes drama. Meanwhile, the title track has him marvelling at the strength of the bond that ties him to a friend.

‘Talk’s scratchy riffs pay homage to his heroes, The Strokes – he has previously hit the studio with guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. – and ‘Tamagotchi’s bouncy melody is bolstered by pitch-shifted vocals and vivid, Pharrell-assisted production.

He does some self-reflection with heart-wrenching specificity on Kali Uchis team-up ‘Bad Life’, which addresses the inner turmoil that accompanies moving on from a former lover, before reaching a cathartic breaking point on ‘Killing Me’, where romantic anxieties have caused him to “hold back feelings like it’s the end of my life”.

So when the soaring ‘Go Away’ arrives, it feels breathtakingly uplifting. As Apollo sings of trying to make a long-distance relationship work, he sounds more determined than ever: the heart remains in the music, wounded by the past yet hopeful for the future.

On “No Good Reason,” Omar Apollo delivers the verses at a choppy speed, strikingly similar to Mariah Carey on “Touch My Body.” However, other than that, the songs are pretty different. “What you making me mad for?/ What you talking like that for?/ Who you tryn’a be bad for?” he sings before a track repeats the lyrics back, this time twisted and distorted.

On the more acoustic portion of the album, there are songs like “Evergreen,” an easy-moving pop song about a lover who left Apollo for a woman and, even though he’s heartbroken, he still wishes the man well. “You know you really made me hate myself/ Had to stop before I break myself,” he sings about a love that didn’t outlast the season.

There’s “Petrified,” where his voice appears to ache. “You sang me a song, but it didn’t exist,” he sings, telling of a man who came into his life without offering much but remains lingering in his mind.

“Waiting On You” is another acoustic track and is easily the standout on the slow side of the record. Moving with a casual mid-tempo beat, Apollo’s voice is calm and supported by the percussion. He sings about waiting for the man he likes to catch onto his feelings.

“En El Olvido” is sung entirely in Spanish, absent of anything besides Apollo’s voice and acoustic guitar plucking. His robust vocals accent the traditionally Mexican sound.


Tracks Title Time
1 Ivory 0:45
2 Talk 2:37
3 No Good Reason 1:48
4 Invincible (feat. Daniel Caesa 3:36
5 Endlessly Interlude 0:34
6 Killing Me 2:45
7 Go Away 3:27
8 Waiting On You 2:31
9 Petrified 3:17
10 Personally 3:31
11 En El Olvido 2:26
12 Tamagotchi 2:48
13 Can’t Get Over You 1:02
14 Evergreen 3:36
15 Bad Life (feat. Kali Uchis) 3:17
16 Mr. Neighbor 2:46

Album Theme

Throughout ‘Ivory’, Apollo’s goal is self-reflection. A collection of gorgeous, sultry songs that contend with the angst of feeling like you’re the only person who is truly awake and alive in an otherwise sleepy world.

Production Credits

Producers that worked on this project include Carter Lang, Chad Hugo, Chromeo, Daniel Caesar, Knox Fortune, Manuel Barajas, Mike Hector, Noah Goldstein, Omar Apollo, Oscar Santander, Pharrell Williams, Rodaidh McDonald, Teo Halm & Tobias Jesso Jr.


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