For all its imagination and inventiveness, dance music can be an uninspiring landscape when it comes to track names. Vocals are an irregular fixture, meaning titles are able to avoid the naffness of twee indie hooks (e.g the Kaiser Chiefs’ soulless ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’), or the all-consuming lyrical subject matter of a genre like death metal (e.g the one million death metal songs called things like ‘Death’, ‘Blood’, ‘Bloody Death’, ‘Hold Tight Death Each And Every’). But even with a blank language canvas to play with, producers are still out here calling their treasured works of art ‘Kick Drum (4x4 mix)’.
Not the most pressing issue clubland faces, we appreciate, but variety is the spice of life, and why shouldn’t a scroll through names on rekordbox retain some of the aesthetic pleasure of flicking through the artwork of record bags?
That’s why we’re grateful for Omar S, unequivocally the finest purveyor of track names in the business, breaking the title tedium one colloquialism and a handful of exclamation marks at a time.
He knows it, of course. His last album was humbly titled ‘The Best!’. The two previous showed levels of hubris a weary house cat would be proud of, in the nonchalant declaration ‘It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It’ and the backhanded gratitude of ‘Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself’. And you know it’s all real, no fronting. Naturally a tune called ‘It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It’ comes from an artist whose contribution to the esteemed fabric mix series was made up entirely of his own tracks, and after being drawn on comparisons to Ricardo Villalobos’ mix with the same approach nine editions earlier, declared: “I don't even know who Ricardo Willalobo is. I ain't start hearing his name till like a year ago. Who the fuck is that?”.
In the same interview, he labelled his ‘Psychotic Photosynthesis’, another fine title that conjures imagery of some post-apocalyptic Day of the Triffids scenario, as “the best record I've heard in ten years from any-damn-body” and also questioned “People try to say that I'm arrogant, how the fuck am I arrogant?”.
Not everyone could get away with such haughty headings, but when you’re operating at the levels Omar S hits and your mouth is writing cheques that your talent can cash, it all becomes part of the charm. They’re not just interesting titles, they perfectly capture the distilled essence of the artist. They nod to his resolutely DIY attitude. Rather than wince, you just have to respect the brazenness, which Omar S packs in abundance.
Replies to a tweet from All Caps co-founder Bake highlighted this cult of personality-esque appreciation. Upon presenting without comment that “omar s once told me to fuck off after i took out my serato box and reconnected the decks for him”, replies included “Omg he spoke to you”, “wow what an honour amazing” and “Jealous”. The joking-but-not vibe is strong.
Plus, it’s not all self-assurance from the Detroit don. There’s the superliminal quip of ‘Here’s Your Trance, Now Dance!!’; the inventive jibe ‘You Silk Suit Wearin Mulafuk'ka’; the Ronseal-inspired ‘100% House’; ‘Income Tax Refund Dance’ capturing the euphoria of an unexpected windfall; his side-eyeing John FM collaboration ‘White People Churches Be Like’; the afters evocative ‘Annoying Mumbling Alkaholik’. The list goes on. Put simply, Omar S is ‘The Shit Baby’.