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Me 4 U

‘Cheerleader’ guy can’t catch island-pop lightning in a bottle twice

Omi

OMI (pronounced oh-mee), born Omar Samuel Pasley, outside Miss Lily?s before a performance in New York, July 15, 2015. It is rare for a Jamaican to top the chart, and OMI, while basking in the publicity of a remix to his song ?Cheerleader? hitting No. 1, hopes to continue to appeal to a variety of audiences. (Bryan Derballa/The New York Times)

Bryan Derballa/The NY Times/Redux

Omi scored one of this year’s fizziest hits with “Cheerleader,” a pop-reggae trifle with a fun-loving dance beat and lyrics about his decision not to cheat on his woman. What a guy! But the 28-year-old Jamaican singer’s charm wears thin on his debut LP. “Cheerleader” was a years-old song that soared to Number One after German producer Felix Jaehn remixed it. The rest of the songs here show an artist who isn’t quite ready for primetime.

The best tracks on Me 4 U are built for good times and warm weather, complete with steel drum beats and odes to the singer’s island home (“The streets, they salute me/I’m home again,” he sings on the upbeat, heartfelt “Promised Land”). “Color of My Lips”, which features a winning guest verse from Busy Signal, and “Hula Hoop” match the catchy melodies and silky vocals heard on “Cheerleader.” A few other highlights further the vibe of naive crushes and summertime fun. But Omi’s attempts at darker love songs mostly fall flat. “Standing on All Threes” is a woeful, surface-deep guitar jam. The title track leans heavily on a pallid R&B beat, and while Omi’s vocals hit their notes, the song never catches fire. Most of his newfound fans would have a better time making a playlist with “Cheerleader” 14 times in a row.

In This Article: Omi

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