Sunday, April 27, 2008

'Cause my heart is in the same old condition that baby left it

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like Omarion's "Ice Box" came and went without leaving much of an impression on the general public, despite apparently reaching #12 in the U.S. and being certified gold. If that's the case, though, it's a real shame, because it was easily one of the best songs of 2006. The Timbaland style has rarely been more effective than it is here, where it results in an arrangement that's just as cold and sparse as the narrator's heart. Omarion's previous single, "Entourage," had been pleasant but throwaway, but for one moment, with the release of "Ice Box," he made it seem like he could be an incredibly exciting popstar; the music video--both stylish and stylized--and song together made for for a perfect pop package geared towards leaving an impression.

Haunting and ominous, "Ice Box" is the rare song that manages to be cutting-edge American pop music (sure, you can argue that anything from Timbaland post-"Maneater" [or post-"Cry Me A River," or post-whatever Aaliyah song you want to choose] isn't cutting edge, but somehow, those icy synths, little piano riffs, drum beat, Timbaland's "I'm so cold"s, and Omarion's singing manage to add up to something that "Ice Box" sounds more than modern--it's positively futuristic), emotional, and addictive. In fact, as far as songs in which the male narrator tries to explain away his actions by pleading that he just can't love the same way because of how he was hurt in the past, I'd say "Ice Box" does an even better job than Take That's "Patience" at leaving you with a genuine sense of sympathy for the singer. Making a song as chilly as this one is a dangerous thing to do--it can often result in fantastic "atmosphere" but also distance the listener from the song, and maybe that explains the song's lack of staying power for the public, but for me, it manages to dodge that bullet entirely; every time "Ice Box" finishes, I crave more, even as part of me feels like it's been left shivering in a corner.

To buy Omarion's second solo album, 21, go here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: maybe something from a British singer I've stated my love for before.


D'luv said...

Yeah, this is a great song and I totally remember when it was out. It's very similar to NLT's "She Said, I Said (Time We Let Go)" from last year, which Timbaland produced...only that one didn't even chart! Very underrated pop.

Yuяi said...

I totally missed this song back when it was out. I really like it! Classy, cold and eerie. Love it!

Poster Girl said...

It does make me wonder if there's just something about the style (this vein of Timbaland-produced pop) that doesn't connect to people--or maybe it's just a matter of not being a big enough name to begin with? I'd forgotten about that NLT song!

I'm so glad to hear you say that! Say both those things, actually :D That you missed it because it helps me feel like I'm not crazy for thinking it didn't leave a huge impression and that you like it. Nice little description of it, too!