It's rare when showing less rather than more passion is the measure of a performer's maturity, but that's the case with Omarion. The emotional deep freeze of "Ice Box," the Timbaland-produced track from King O's sophomore album, stands worlds away from the fuzzy puppy love of his boy-band past in B5. You can almost feel the frigid synth work swirling about Omarion's declaration of numbness: "I got this ice box where my heart used to be/I'm so cold."
Unfortunately, the rest of 21 feels like leftovers in the refrigerator. That's particularly true of the club cuts. "Beg For It" tries extremely hard to be the 2007 answer to Usher's "Yeah!" but exudes neither the freshness nor the hook to pull it off.
But Omarion does exhibit subtle signs of the growth alluded to in the album title; there's more depth to the balladry this time around -- especially the atmospheric "Do It" and "Midnight." But without possessing pipes or songs that demand immediate attention, Omarion risks getting buried in the back of the crowded freezer that is urban music.