It’s a tough to task to transition from teen heartthrob to a full-fledged R&B or Pop star. For every Bobby Brown, who makes the transition, there is a Tevin Campbell who is forgotten. Enter Omarion. The former B2K front man, was blessed with superb Neptunes and Underdog production on his previous efforts now has the opportunity to swim or sink on his own. Luckily he has a firm grasp on the importance and delivery of lead singles, but he still has plenty of work to do when creating a full album, as is demonstrated throughout Ollusion.
With the album only 11 tracks deep and clocking in at just less than 40 minutes worth of content, the work surprisingly lacks continuity. Omarion goes everywhere without ever investing into any topic or track personally. It at times feels like an album of failed singles – grabbing straws in hopes that one of them will start a new craze, be it fashion or music. While other times Omarion attempts to channel his inner R. Kelly, which he does unsuccessfully on “Wet.”
“I Get it in” is a monstrous lead single. The lead track of the album features Gucci Mane and will be a hit heard on the radio and in arenas across the country. Omarion steals some Lil Wayne-esq delivery mojo and gives the listener what is easily the best offering of the album. Gucci Mane makes an appearance, which really only acts as a cosign to the track's heat, allowing grown men to play the song with their windows down unashamed. From there, the album spirals out of control. The next three tracks are atrocious. "Hoodie" is destined to be a Gap commercial next fall while “Last Night” contains juvenile lyrics like “Bitch stick to me like a bag of fritos.” Omarion is seemingly unable to bridge the gap between his own maturation and his musical growth.
“Speedin” is the albums midway point and brings about the next highlight of the album. It is the only track where Omarion takes any risks vocally. The risks don’t necessary result in any outstanding vocal feats, but the risk does breath life into the track. Ollusion is starved for more daring vocal ventures from the young singer. Tracks like the subdued “Sweet Hangover” had the potential to run but Omarion's safe approach keeps the track in a forgettable stand still. The album never really gets going. Poor songwriting and the lack of big production tranquilizes Ollusion. There are more forgettable moments than not and even a few awful moments. “I Think My Girl is Bi” is bad from the title to the delivery. It sounds more like a failed SNL skit, a song that took a back seat to “Dick In A Box” than it does a serious effort included on a project such as Ollusion. The following track “Code Red” doesn't fare much better and is plagued with cliche songwriting and metaphors.
Maybe Omarion’s past success will give fans the ability to look beyond the project. He may be extremely fortunate, considering many more talented artists have ruined their careers on albums that were better than Ollusion. The massive single aside, it’s an album where the artist takes little to no risks and sees no return in quality. His past work and success should give Omarion the opportunity to make amends for the sub par effort. Hopefully in that time he begins to mature musically and starts to seriously consider his legacy as a singer outside of B2K.