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The Cris de Coeur of Omah Lay’s Boy Alone

As promised, Omah Lay dropped Boy Alone, his heavily anticipated debut album, on July 15th, 2022. The album contains featured appearances from Tay Iwar and Justin Bieber and comprises fourteen tracks with all of them taking on a mid-tempo cadence. According to Omah Lay, “Boy Alone” was his father’s name, and a loose metaphor for one who is unmatched. On the album cover, Omah Lay is positioned in the middle of a purple background with a few people walking away from him to supply a mood of aloneness. This captures the entire mood of the song and aligns with its title, Boy Alone. We see, right after a thorough delve into the album, that Omah Lay is truly alone, save for the ennui and the tumultuous emotions which he has the solitude to dissect. Right from his debut project, Get Layd, Omah Lay’s music has been closely associated with alt-pop and Boy Alone gears towards this same sound.

There is a quote by the famous painter, Leonardo Da Vinci which states, “…poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” In Boy Alone, Omah Lay is a virtuoso. He is like Picasso, flicking an elegant paintbrush to paint portraits of melancholic, grim images that do not only highlight his disquieting emotions, but take on reflective qualities — images that reach out of their canvas with mangled hands to drag you into their trite home. His music rings exactly like poetry, filled with metaphors condensed in the English Pidgin language and carried in the soulful genre of alté. And that is what makes Omah Lay’s music quintessential. He demonstrates his heritage, prides in unconventionality, matching his lyricism with a raw level of depth that can only be conveyed via the unembellished form of this base street language.

It is inarguable that Omah Lay is a whizz at this music thing. Every song in his catalogue can be counted as his best song, every project that he has created resounds mightily with a genius, artistic quality. “safe haven”, the ninth song on Boy Alone, is a certified jam. It exudes an ecclesiastical and liturgical atmosphere complete with the organic unity and harmonious chorus; thus, evoking the spiritual, which blends into the album’s rhythmic character.

In “i’m a mess”, Omah Lay sings with mellifluous vocals on a slow but rising tune before the song takes on hard beats. He is brazen and unafraid to admit that he has issues while fixing sharp rhythms to testify to the claim that he makes: “nobody is badder than me / I do it differently”. Omah Lay’s life is one that shares the pattern of a grass-to-grace narrative. Something that he discloses in his songs. On “never forget”, he intimates that he is “from the slums” and while he’s grateful to have found his way out, the pressures that come with fame are another conundrums that he must unravel.

Omah Lay is a troubadour on issues of sexuality and even in the midst of gloom and despair, his sexual side still creeps in. “bend you” is another hit song in the album which is thematically built around matters of romance and the sensuous. R&B king, Tay Iwar, shines with Omah Lay in “tell everybody” and the song follows the same sensual trail where Omah Lay says, “So me, I just wanna be yours”.

The aesthetics in Boy Alone are minimalist, but powerful. The album is one that hits you with an initial confusion, leaving you dazed and stunned as to the wonder of the artist’s sagacity. Omah Lay jars us from the ephemerality of jollity and leads us hand-in-hand into a cavern of introspection where bitter truths lie. The concluding song, “purple song” where he sings: “Even if say you kneel down dey beg / I cannot let you go”, can be reasoned as a symbol representing Omah Lay’s relationship with his audience and in extension, fame. He concludes by expressing vividly that he is here, in the limelight of excellence, to stay.

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