Earth, Wind, and Fire's "Reasons" is one of the finest songs in all of recorded music. Philip Bailey's perfect falsetto is a model for technical control and ability, but when he gives himself over to the emotion of the song three-quarters in—that's what people mean when they talk about soul.
Just about everyone who has a strong relationship to soul music has a memory tied up in Bailey's vocals. (Mine: Listening to the song on EW&F's Best Of, Vol. 1, the one with the red cover, in the car with my dad in complete disbelief; he opened the CD's jewel case and then removed the booklet to show me a photo of Bailey, proving to me that it wasn't a woman singing, just that this man's voice could do incredible things.)
The song means quite a bit to Omarion, as he explained over the phone. "This is a song I grew up listening to," he said. "There are so many kids in the digital space who don’t even know about this collage of emotional sounds. I wanted to introduce that to a younger demo who may not know too much about Earth, Wind and Fire, so I remade it with my band, the Reasons, a.k.a. All Handsome—we all handsome."
"People have never heard me sing in this manner," he said. "Years ago I was working with Pharrell on 'Obsession' from my second album, 21. He was like, 'O, you gotta master your fals.' Since then I’ve been digging in [on my falsetto]. I never really found it to work on a lot of my songs, but this was a great opportunity to flex the ability. The Philip Bailey range, it’s right in my pocket."
This video is both a teaser and call to action for his fans, who were expecting the release of his album, also titled Reasons, on Friday. "I promised my fans that the album was coming 6/16 and I wanted to be true to my word and deliver “Reasons.” It might not be the Reasons they expected. But I’m hoping that they enjoy it and appreciate the attempt to pay tribute to the legends."
For those fans waiting on Reasons, the album, Omarion said, "My album is mastered and it’s ready to release. But the record company doesn’t want to release it because they don’t see the demand. I want the fans to know that they can demand it, and one way is by showing support for 'Distance' by streaming and downloading it, and following me on all social media platforms."
"The most artists in rotation right now are all rappers—who are singing R&B songs, by the way," he continued. "These spaces are congested. So the fans need to demand Reasons. We shot two videos, one in Japan, that are definitely coming at the end of the month. This is a visual album, so I hope fans communicate more and demand it. If you really want the Omarion album, campaign."
Watch the video above, and if you want new Omarion, you know what to do.
Oh, and stop sleeping on Sex Playlist.