What happens when you combine five talented but generic singers, a music svengali, a powerhouse reality show and a gap in the music market? If you answered “One Direction”, then you can probably guess where we are going here!
It’s not that Fifth Harmony are copying One Direction, it’s just that it feels like we’ve seen this before.
‘Reflection’ is a good album, but it was even better when Destiny’s Child released it fifteen years ago. Or when Little Mix released it two years ago. Ok that’s not really true. At the very least, ‘Reflection’ sounds very deliberately 2015 but, again, you get where we’re going with the comparison.
Let’s start with the first single ‘Bo$$’. It’s all horns and self-empowerment lyrics, but are we buying their in-your-face act? Not really. Destiny’s Child did it far better on ‘Independent Women Part One’.
Similarly ‘Suga Mama’ is the lyrical twin sister to ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’.
Second single ‘Sledgehammer’ is a decent flirtation with the right direction. It’s basically Beyoncé’s ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ with an electro pop influence. The combination works but adds little to the musical landscape. Not that it needs to, but it might explain why the song has yet to make much impact on the charts.
The title track is surprisingly quite good, utilizing the aforementioned self-empowerment theme that seems to guide the group, but with an unexpected lyrical twist.
Elsewhere, ‘Top Down’ straight up rips off Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’, the Stargate-produced ‘Worth It’ (the girls’ next Aussie single) utilizes the trumpet sound that was all the rage last year and ‘This is How We Roll’ is part Avicii and part Will.I.Am; take that for what you will.
Mariah Carey is a welcome influence to stop things getting too repetitive, inspiring ‘Everlasting Love’ and ‘Like Mariah’. For added credibility, the latter even samples the Elusive Chanteuse’s mega-hit ‘Always Be My Baby’.
Our favourite track is probably the bonus track ‘Going Nowhere’, which has a killer early 2000’s R&B/pop-esque backing track. It does suffer from subpar lyrics though, unless “Cause you got a dime, and that’s money well spent” makes any sense to someone out there.
Again, we admit that we are probably being a bit harsh; ‘Reflection’ doesn’t disappoint when it comes to delivering solid pop songs. It’s just that they are too solid, as if the album was market-researched to death before going on sale.
Perhaps our expectations were too high here… it is just a first impression after all.
We just wished that it didn’t sound so cynical and devoid of the spirit that set the Spice Girls of the world apart from the Bardots.
Download : Reflection, Going Nowhere.