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Sing (If You Want It)
It’s a record that can boast forward thinking and timelessness as its attributes—a gift that has deservedly won the legend a Mobo nomination this time around
When I heard of Omar’s return, I was filled with both jubilation and apprehension. On one hand we have the founder of ‘nu-classic soul’. His chart topping single ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ and the album of the same name back in 1991 paved the way for the likes of D’Angelo and Erykah Badu to follow.
In fact, along with millions of others, Badu has named the British soul legend from the quiet town of Cantebury as one of her favourite artists of all time. The huge variety of collaborations on this record—from Estelle, Angie Stone, Zed Bias, Stevie Wonder, and UK giant Rodney P—are yet another example of his long list of admirers.
With that amount of recognition, I guess my apprehension stems from the pain of seeing the return of a genuine hero greeted by anything but success. Thankfully, though, Sing (If You Want It) throws my skepticism a hard slap.
It’s a record that can boast forward thinking and timelessness as its attributes—a gift that has deservedly won the legend a Mobo nomination this time around. Reassuringly covered in vintage Omar, the album brings uplifting harmonies with characteristic soul ad-libs, all coated in his enviously cool attitude. But through his variation in both tempo and influences he has succeeded in his brevity to explore new sounds indicating an artist looking forward not backwards.
‘Lay it Down’, with Estelle back to her poetry best, has a beat that itches you to groove too while the rap version of ‘Gimme Sun’ includes a string of lyricist including Common and Rodney P, adding variation to a record that couldn’t be further then what you expected. ‘Get It Together’ is another classic. Of course this years summer anthem ‘Dancing’ produced by Zed Bias needs no more description of its brilliance.
This is an album for both those oldskool fans still in search of quality new music and new admirers like myself who were stumbling around in nappies first time round. Long may his influence continue.Omar: Get It Together Omar: Dancing
words Ali Raymond
Buy Sing (If You Want It) from Tru Thoughts