Final rating: 7.5/10
Simon Cowell’s music magic never fails. Like the rest of the world, I fell in love with Fifth Harmony’s sound when the girl group was born on the stage of X-Factor. There’s nothing that I love more than following young artists from the time they’re discovered to their moment in the spotlight. With the release of their long anticipated debut studio album, Reflection, Fifth Harmony fans will not be disappointed.
Fifth Harmony has made it clear to fans through interviews (including our very own Capsule podcast interview) that they have matured as a group, and this means that fans are to expect a more mature sound. I think that this album truly is a reflection of their growth; their sound has taken on many different facets and these girls are fearless. From track to track, it is evident that this album marries who the girls were on X-Factor with the picture of young, independent women.
The music industry is no stranger to girl power, and Fifth Harmony playfully takes on the role of female role models quite nicely, as they enforce importance of the strong female in tracks Brave Honest Beautiful, Like Mariah and Sugar Mama. Throughout the album, the girls sing about various female idols such as Michelle Obama, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Shakira and Madonna, just to name a few powerful women.
Top Down is the first song on the album and it lures listeners in with catchy lyrics and an anthem-like vibe. Like the title indicates, listeners can expect to have a fun ride with the “top down” while listening to this album because Fifth Harmony delivers a full-bodied album that is worth the wait. With hints of early Madonna, this song shows an appreciation for female pop vocals that preceded the band. BO$$ is the first single of the album and certainly set the tone for what kind of career the girls expect to have; one with sass and confidence. With its hip-hop style and edge, this song takes a fun approach to the message of female empowerment without “taking it too seriously” through mischievous lyrics. One of my personal favourite songs on the album is the second single that was released: Sledgehammer, which happens to be co-written by Meghan Trainor. Maybe it’s the perfect harmony of the song, or the 80s inspired pop synths, but this song embodies what I love so much about the girl group.
Body Rock is one of the weaker tracks on the album, as it appears to hold the progression of the album back and doesn’t seem to fit the overall vibe of the album as it is the least challenging song structurally. Worth It had great potential, however the collaboration with Kid Ink was not as successful as intended. The opening of Worth It sounds like it was inspired by Jason DeRulo’s song Talk Dirty to Me. I think the song would have made more of an impact without the rapper’s vocals, as they detracted from the song.
Apart from a few minor hiccups, Reflection is a solid debut album for Fifth Harmony. The album shows Fifth Harmony’s vocal range, as they experiment with different sounds from song to song. For example, Sledgehammer departs from the hip-hop sound of BO$$ and explores an upbeat pop vibe that showcases the girls’ diverse voices. The title track of the album, Reflection, sends such a strong message to listeners: “Don’t need no filters on pictures before you post ‘em on the gram” and “I’m talking to my own reflection/Boy, I ain’t even talking ‘bout you, I’m talking to my own reflection.” Instead of wasting your time trying to change yourself to please the rest of the world Reflection is an anthem that reminds listeners to love yourself and be confident. The last lyrics the listen hears are “you’re beautiful, girl” and that truly is the album in a nutshell.
The group has shown growth and maturity and I’m sure we can expect to hear a lot more from them in the years to come. Girl power!