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Track Review

Sometimes overnight success takes years.

Take the case of Jamaican reggae singer Omar Samuel Pasley, better known by his stage name OMI. The first version of his song "Cheerleader" dropped way back in 2012. Fast-forward two years, and a remixed edition by music producer and DJ Felix Jaehn trickled out. Then it took another year before it finally caught fire online with yet another rerelease in May 2015.

This time, though, the results have to be beyond the heretofore unknown Jamaican singer's wildest dreams. After a three year delay, "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" has topped iTunes. It's become a Billboard Top-10 track, and it's playing on car radios and iPods everywhere. And I do mean everywhere: The song has already topped the charts in 16 European countries, plus Australia and Canada.

What's at the core of all this recent pom-pom waving and rhythmic roof-raising? Love and adoration, plain and simple. Things OMI's got plenty of for the woman he calls his "queen." "When I need motivation/My one solution is my queen," he sings in the opening lines. And it's clear this regal lady adores him right back ("'Cause she stay strong, yeah, yeah/She is always in my corner/Right there when I want her").

As a result of this loving couple's little mutual admiration club, outside temptations are something OMI insists he can resist. "All these other girls are tempting," he admits, "but I'm empty when you're gone." And when those "other girls" up the ante and beg him to cheat, OMI just shoots them down again. "They say/Do you need me?/Do you think I'm pretty?/Do I make you feel like cheating?/And I'm like, 'No, not really.'"

Why's this guy so determined to stay true? I'll let him answer: "Oh, I think I found myself a cheerleader/She is always right there when I need her."

Some suggestive stuff throws off the tempo of the cheer a bit when OMI offers a few lines about magic that could be heard as sexual double entendres ("She grants my wishes like a genie in a bottle, yeah, yeah/'Cause I'm the wizard of love/And I got the magic wand"). But then it seems like things are headed in a matrimonial direction as the last verse reaffirms OMI's commitment ("Baby, did I mention you're the only girl for me?), gushes about his mom's approval ("Mama loves you, too, she thinks I made the right selection") and hints that a proposal is in the offing ("Now all that's left to do/Is just for me to pop the question").

As for my review, the only thing left to do is comment on this song's video, which turns up the sensuality a notch or two as OMI sings to his beloved—who's wearing a bikini top and a flimsy beach cover-up along with revealing short shorts. She and other scantily clad women dance in the sand, their moves involving hip thrusts, backside shakes and sexually evocative twisting and twerking.

So even if this couple is on the way to marriage, as the song suggests, the path to that delightful destination gets a tad distasteful as things start heating up long before OMI puts a ring on it and makes things moral.

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May 20, 2014

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Adam R. Holz

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