’s first two solo albums topped the R&B and Billboard 200 charts, so it is a little surprising that he took over three years to release his third. The singer wasn’t twiddling his thumbs, though. He recorded 2007’s Face Off
with Bow Wow
-- promoted by a BET special titled The Road to Platinum
, it went gold -- and continued his side career in films and on television. After a brief association with Lil Wayne
's Young Money label, Omarion
linked with EMI and established his StarWorld label for Ollusion
, an album that thrives on sparse, tickling productions that are more about atmosphere than anything else. Clusters of synthetic handclaps, snares, and other slivers of percussion, along with impressionist-like use of keyboards and piano, are more prominent than busy and slick, heavily layered arrangements anchored by heavy kick drums and blasting bass. Almost all of these beats would be classified as snapping, slapping, or smacking before banging, flecked with details yet simultaneously somewhat half-assed-sounding. Given the number of partially detached vocals, filled with android-in-heat impersonations, clipped-phrase drop-ins, and messing around (best heard in “Temptation,” containing a hilarious flub around the three-minute mark), it’s as if Omarion
wanted to make a concerted attempt to downplay his vocal ability, which only adds to the album’s weird, teasing charm. The lyrics are relatively straightforward, though the back half of one couplet (“You got me shootin’ like a porno/B*tch stick to me just like a bag of Fritos”) could be the product of a Mad Libs session. There’s only one sop to slick pop, “I Think My Girl Is Bi.” It’s easily the worst song on the album, ironically the disc’s only throwaway.