First Listen #43: Xavier Omär’s ‘if You Feel’

After listening to a lot of the singles from Xavier Omär’s if You Feel (2020), I finally decided it was time to listen to the full thing. I’ve been a fan of Xavier Omär’s for a couple of years now. I was at a record store with one of my older cousins in like 2016, and the store was playing a homemade mixtape with Sango’s “How Do You Love Me?” as one of the songs on the tracklist. Instantly fell in love with Xavier’s voice, bought the mixtape, and I’ve been listening to his music on and off since then.

Photo Credit:

2020: iF You Feel

(via Genius)

I really enjoyed this project. I haven’t listened to a full Xavier Omär project since I listened to (and loved!!) The Everlasting Wave (2016); that album has a LOT of my favorite songs on it, so I’m happy I got to spend some more extensive time with him and his music. Something I appreciated the most about this project, which is just what I appreciate about Xavier Omär’s music in general, is how versatile the tracks on this project are. We get a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and Xavier sounds amazing on all of it. I also enjoyed the intentionality behind him making the ends of each song on this project count. It’s not something exclusive to him – and I’m not quite sure why it was so apparent to me today – but the songs on if You Feel don’t just end. There are some really nice piano, guitar, and spoken moments at the ends of these songs that add something special to the tracks as a whole. I don’t remember that being so clear on The Everlasting Wave.

I know you’ve heard it

All the things I could say to make you feel wanted

You’re more than worth it

Baby let me remind you again

My love is for you

Xavier Omär, “FIND ME.”

I think my favorite track coming off of this is “Protect.” From the JUMP, I could tell that I was about to be in for a treat. The production on here is sooooooooo good – it feels very much influenced by 90s R&B (there’s a lot of moments like that on this project — “want/need” is another one) but there’s a bit of a modern twist on it. Also the HARMONIES on the chorus of this song had me ascending to new heights of musical enjoyment. If Xavier Omär doesn’t do anything else on a song, he’s gonna give us harmonies. And he GAVE US harmonies on this project, and they were really doing something for me on “Protect.” “All Our Time,” So Much More” (the BRIDGE on this song!!!), and “Like I Feel” were amazing on their own, but they come together a lot better meshed with the other tracks on here. I actually listened to “SURF” last week for the Discover Weekly that was supposed to happen – but I had to listen to Latrell James lol – so I got to listen to it again with the rest of the project, and it sounds so good with the transition from the end of “want/need.” I loved what Masego and Xavier Omär did together on Masego’s “Wifeable” from Loose Thoughts (2016), so it was nice to hear them on a song together again. “Bon Iverre,” “More Than Less,” and “Lil’ Healer” were also really nice – I just don’t have specific thoughts on those.

The only thing that kind of annoys me about this project is that it didn’t come out in the summer. I mentioned this when I listened to “All Our Time” a couple of weeks back, but I’m feeling that even more with everything put together. I was thinking yesterday about much tangibility matters to me when I listen to music. Pharrell posted picture on Twitter (he looked so GOOD), and I started thinking about how one of the things I thought was really cool about Pharrell, when I first started getting into his music pretty heavily, was his synesthesia and how he sees colors when he hears music. That was so amazing to me – and still is. And I definitely was not blessed with that, but my music experience leans a lot into the tangible. I get chills (or cry) when I hear something that I really like or is really emotional or heavy. I always equate what I’m hearing to an experience (a la Wings’s “Jet” sounding like flight-montage music) even if that experience wasn’t something I’ve gone through. And I love feeling like my environment/experiences are reflected in what I’m listening to, which is why I like to listen to music on bike rides or walks so much. You haven’t lived unless you’ve listened to the chorus of Tyler the Creator’s “Boredom,” while flying down a hill on a bike with the wind on your face. I still enjoy music outside of those moments, but it’s definitely not the same. And I was feeling that really heavily with if You Feel. It’s a project that would sound amazing at a little kickback in the park (remember those?) or on a bike ride or walk. Something that requires you to feel the sun on your skin. But it was 37 degrees when I went outside to push the trash can to the curb for pick up so…we’re definitely past that summertime vibe moment that this album needs lol. But I’m planning on going on a drive later, so I’m hoping to see how it stands up to a car ride.

The project is really great, though. We love Xavier Omär in this house.

Overall Project Rating

Featured Image via RCA Records Website

(listen to if You Feel on Spotify by clicking the image below)

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