(Just for clarification, I use the word queer to be synonymous with anyone in the LGBTQIA+ Community)
There has been an explosion of new, LGBTQIA+ music artists found in little corners of the internet. For me it started with King Princess and only snowballed from there. I found Dorian Electra, Christine and the Queens, Donna Missal, Rina Sawayama, Kevin Abstract, Girl in Red, and now Omar Apollo.
Apolonio by Omar Apollo is the queer breakup album that everyone needs. It’s the Call Me By Your Name of queer music, at least for me. Apollo primarily focuses on lover(s?) that have been on his mind. The album is consistent in its messages, but the genres dance around R&B, funk, indie, and hip-hop. As Apollo mumbles through raps and sings with goofy confidence, everything blends together in what reminds me of a friend opening up to me over drinks.
The album starts with “I’m Amazing”, in it Apollo deems himself as anything but. He tells the story of a love he’s been missing ever since they got with their current girlfriend. The singer laments over the events leading to his “separation” with his past lover. These feelings are continued in the second track “Kamikaze”, but Apollo is starting to move on. As he strums the guitar he creates a hybrid RnB/Indie atmosphere that is perfect for blasting down the expressway at night.
One of my favorites from the album “Want U Around”, is a slow, R&B plea for love. It displays Omar Apollo’s versatility -showing off his vocal range and expression. If you were to ask Apollo to sing any note that you picked, he would do it -and he does it in this song. The harmonies support Apollo and the instrumental to a point of sounding cinematic. I can see it being played behind a video montage of someone you love -in a gross, rom-com kind of way.
The rest of the album focuses on the singer’s recovery when it comes to losing someone he loved. In “Stayback” and “Useless”, he battles holding onto hope or moving on from a relationship. Apollo digresses in “Dos Uno Nueve (219)” and references his hometown in Indiana. Apollo struggled during his youth, but now is reveling in the comforts of success. The singer is frustrated -his emotions tear him up while he looks to the past to find some sort of answer.
After reminiscing and analyzing the past, Omar Apollo closes out the album with “Two of Us”, a hopeful song about the connection he has with someone. Despite all of the emotional processing, Apollo has found new love, or come to terms with the relationship from the past. The closure is something I want to see for Apollo, and something I want to see for my friends too.
Omar Apollo is 23, he’s trying to find his place in the world, and trying to make sense of his success. This album represents the uncertainty of being young and not knowing what to do. Similarly, a lot of queer people I know (myself included) have trouble with relationships -they can’t find them -they can’t maintain them -or they’re imperfect. This album is a queer perspective to relate to and find solace in as we continue to navigate the arena of life, love, and happiness.