Twenty-one-year-old Omar Apollo released his first album Stereo at the end of May 2018. Apollo combines an indie rock guitar sound with R&B and soul, which can be seen through both his smooth falsettos and sultry rap-like verses.
Stereo opens with the title track “Stereo (Intro)”, which showcases Apollo’s soulful vocals singing in both English and Spanish. His voice in this track takes on an almost trancelike sound paired with a groovy bass line. “Ignorin” is one of the most fun songs on the record, bringing together funky bass lines and guitar riffs with confident, suave vocals. “Erase” shows off the soulfulness of Apollo’s voice as he sings about a past relationship, setting a scene that he is feeling sentimental looking back. “Ugotme” starts strong with a strong rhythmic swing and a soulful guitar solo. Apollo’s vocals seem to float effortlessly above the heavy beat, giving the song a dreamlike feel.
“Hijo Su Madre” begins with isolated guitar and breaks into a groovy, danceable beat that can’t help but make you tap your foot or bob your head to the rhythm. “Lucky” seems to take a more psychedelic approach with dreamy synth, distorted guitar, and a driving beat. “Amor Malo” begins with a bit of Mariachi-style guitar which almost catches the listener off guard because of the contrast with the rest of the tracks.
Because he is a first-generation Mexican American in Trump-era United States, it is important to note the pieces of Apollo’s culture that he blends seamlessly into his music. His switches between English and Spanish are effortless and add to the smooth and suave sound of his voice. He is obviously proud of his heritage and is able to combine that pride with his raw talent and passion for creating music.
Looking at the album as a whole, Omar Apollo has such a different sound, it is hard to categorize his music in any one way. He’s often categorized as “bedroom pop”, but his music is so much more complex than that. It is a unique blend that stretches across genres and really can’t be compared with anything else. Take a listen for yourself:
Photo from Spotify