Best By Far

A unique blend of jazz and African drums, a bit of garage, plus a handful of infectious duets...

Undoubtedly one of the most ridiculously talented British singer-songwriters, [a]Omar[/a]started his career with the phenomenal smash hit single and album ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ back in 1990.

[a]Omar[/a]’s ability to exploit his skills as a multi-instrumentalist (and to produce rare vocal sounds) always marked him out from the crowd, and attracted the attention of singers and rappers like Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Eric Benet and even Ol’ Dirty Bastard – who all know that being a unique talent can be the breaking of you, since music that is technically rich alienates those easily pleased by fashionable methods. It’s a problem currently plaguing former Fugee, Wyclef Jean.

The result this had on [a]Omar[/a]’s career was that both those in the know [I]and[/I] the mainstream struggled to get to grips with his ensuing albums: ( ‘Music’ , ‘For Pleasure’ , ‘This Is Not A Love Song’ ). His reputation grew, but his sales shrank.

‘Best By Far’, which was written and produced by the man himself, is souped up with a unique blend of jazz and African drums. But he also amalgamates his formula with more populist music forms like garage, best displayed on the Top 40 single ‘Something Real’. And fully aware of the benefits of infectious duets, Omar wisely includes two here: ‘Be Thankful For What You’ve Got’ featuring Erykah Badu and the funky rabble-rouser ‘Come On’, with Kele Le Roc.

As usual, Omar represents with a number of good tracks, but the present musical climate – pop acts flirting with R&B, R&B acts flirting with pop, and no-one flirting with pure soul – could scupper such valiant efforts.

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