So, Fifth Harmony just released their new album…and SHE’S A BOP! You heard me right, 5H’s 3rd studio album came out on August 25th and took us all by surprise. The self-titled album was very anticipated by fans and music insiders alike, as it was the first album from the Urban-pop girl group as a foursome. As we all know, last December, Camila Cabello took her leave from the group to pursue a solo music career. After that, the only question that everyone had was: Is this the end of Fifth Harmony? Well, the girls gave us their answer and appeared on the Billboard: People’s Choice Awards, where they premiered their new version of the hit single, “Work From Home”. The performance was hailed as “courageous” and “fresh”. It was definitely different, but Ally, Dinah Jane, Normani, and Lauren got up on stage and served. Even winning the award for Favorite Group. That night they made a statement, that Fifth Harmony was here to stay! The girls then went on to finish their 7/27 tour, which had its hiccups. The girls were not as confident and they really were questioning themselves as performers. Near the end of the last leg of the 7/27 tour, the girls announce that they were indeed working on new music, even while rumors swirled that the girls were on the brink of breaking up.
Fifth Harmony performing ‘Miss Movin’ On’ Neon Lights tour 2014
5H after the exit of Camila Cabello.
The 7/27 tour finished at the beginning of the summer of 2017 and not long after, on June 2, 2017, the group debuted their new single “Down” ft. Gucci Mane live on Good Morning America.
- Personal opinion: Upon first hearing “Down” I thought it was very okay. It definitely had “Work From Home” vibes; with a more urban feel to it. But, the more I listened to it, the more of the vibe I got from it.
“Down” soon became a fan favorite and the foursome added it to their 7/27 setlist for all their summer concerts. It peaked at about #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, which wasn’t great, but not terrible. The girls continued this new PR campaign, promoting themselves as grown women who are artists. Saying that they were now “stronger and more creative than ever. They did their best to put on the idea that the four of them were Fifth Harmony and that no little roadblock would stop them. Though this was hard for some interviewers and music journalists to swallow. Like with any high-profile band drama involving a member leaving, there were plenty of attempts to sidetrack the conversations about the music and the group and talk about the fallen member. Both parties, Camila and 5H, did their best to stay diplomatic, even when their drama was out in the world to see. However, the girls always found their way back to the music and really hit on the idea that they got to be involved creatively this time around and had a say in what they were doing. They were finally taking control of their brand and their music.
The “new” Fifth Harmony Premiering “Down” on GMA.
Speaking of the brand, once Camila left, the group definitely took a turn. Instead of just flirty girl power, the group began to exude a very mature, sultry image, that seems to have carried through to their music. With most young performers this can feel rough or forced, but for 5H, it seemed to be the right step. This was proved with their second single entitled “Angel”. Which saw the girls channel a darker side. The song itself pretty much saying “We’re not the little girls you thought we were, there’s much more to us than meets the eye.” And boy did the music video and song say that. The vibe of the song is very trappy, think Cardi meets Nicki meets Beyonce meets TLC. It was the hardest track the girls have ever released as a single. The lyrics themselves evoking a much more mature group and shifting dynamic.
Should’ve never crossed that line with ya
Everything was cool, just drinkin’ with ya
Way too young to be up in handcuffs
Wasn’t tryna spend my life on the phone with ya
Gotta keep it on one hundred with ya
The original me wouldn’t fuck with ya
And I was beginning to fuck with ya
As you can see the girls were not playing around. They were going to prove to us that they weren’t the young girls singing songs like “Better Together” and “Miss Movin On”. They were serious young women, who aren’t afraid to be blunt and up front. Ally even accessed her hood side, donning 30 ft of dark weave in the video ( obvious exaggeration). This song was released on August 10, 2017. Just 2 weeks before the release of their album.
In the coming weeks, we then got the album art, which I think, is a really cool cover for the album. The girls also release the title, Fifth Harmony. Yes, they were going with a self-titled album. Why? The girls felt they were finally the Fifth Harmony they wanted to be and they wanted this to be the rebirth of them as a group. Which, makes sense to me, don’t ya think? Also, with the title came the tracklist. Which a lot of people were shocked about.
Firstly, there were only 10 songs on the album. This is their shortest album to date, but the girls felt they wanted a very focused, streamlined album. And there was only ONE feature. Just the one. Again, a decision the girls made, saying they didn’t need anyone else. And I agree, every song on the album speaks for itself.
Of the 10 records on the album, there is only one that I’m not crazy about. Since I’ve already discussed Down and Angel. I’ll start with track 2 and 3rd single “He Like That”
So, this song also got a music video with the album release. And it was fire!!! Seriously, go watch it. I’m not gonna address the slut-shaming by some fans because that’s dumb…its 2017 and they’re grown women. This song has a very reggae-inspired beat, but the electric guitars give it a lot of energy. The girls’ vocals are rather creative and the overall feeling of the song is sexy, fierce, and confident. Dinah and Lauren get to really show off on this song. With, Normani, of course, sneaking a crisp run in there. Plus, the choreo in the music video, is some of the best they have ever delivered.
Then we move on to the song “Sauced Up”. Which seems to be a party anthem. But, also talks about the perils of the millennial generation…getting drunk and hooking up with someone at a party. But, the song definitely has a club feel to it, with a pretty hard beat. The track almost feels like hip-hop. Normani also gets to really SANG on this track. Her vocals have improved so much lately. All of them have really.
The next song, “Make You Mad”, isn’t my favorite, if I am to be honest. It just doesn’t move me. It sounds a little too much like the 7/27 era, which was good, but it doesn’t really feel cohesive with the rest of it. It is a fine song, they just don’t really do anything vocally or musically interesting. It gives me a Ciara vibe though, so I’ll listen to it in a full listen through, but not one I’d just choose to listen to.
Then, there was “Deliver”. This is absolutely my favorite song on the album. It vibes like hell and their vocals are impeccable. Not only are the vocals nice, but they do some really interesting stuff on it. Ally in general on this song slays down. She really gets a chance to shine on this one. It has this truly R&B vibe to it, almost feeling like a Destiny’s Child track. I’d like to see more of this from them definitely. Also, Normani slays the bridge DOWN. This song has the most clever and thoughtful lyrics as well. There a lot of really cute delivery metaphors. This song is a BOP!
“Lonely Night” is an interesting song. It has this kind of hood, TLC vibe, but the breakdown is very pop-y. It has a very mature vibe to it. It is chill, but still really bops. Again, the girls get to really go for it with the vocals here. All 4 of them get to really go off in this one a little bit. Again, a direction I look forward to seeing them go in.
So, this song is another song that sounds like something from 7/27, however, it is more mature. My issue with MYM is that it just kind of sounds and feels the same way, but this song is definitely heightened from the songs similar on 7/27. Even the way they talk about the subject matter is more in depth. The lyrics of this song are really nice, and really hit the point of the song really well, without being too on the nose. Definitely a nice ballad for them.
We already talked about this, but I’d like to deem “Angel” a BOP!
Moving on to the penultimate track, “Messy”. Again, that odd R&B/urban pop thing they’re able to do really well. This is another ballad, but it’s very different. Again, a very mature exploration with the content. It is a song about being honest about yourself and the fact that we are all human and, well, messy. There is also a really dope ass vocal breakdown in place of a bridge. It is one of the MOST impressive vocal moments on this album. the way the girls’ riffs and runs all fit and meld together was really well done(yes, they do it live too). And Normani’s. Fucking. Whistle.
The final “Bridges” is just a nice big, beautiful F-U to 45 and his horrid administration. Lauren is always speaking out against the Trump administration and I think this song was written as a statement against all the hate and divisiveness that has come from DJT. And the lyric “Bridges not walls” is enough evidence of that. Plus, I think all of the girls have some sort of Latinx descent in their families. So, all of this hits really close to them. This is just a nice standard pop anthem, a nice way to close the album out, and with the some really nice vocal moments and harmonies.
Well, there you have it! In my opinion, Fifth Harmony is a strong pop album. It is the kind of album that I think a girl group like 5H should be releasing. It really is a landmark for them, and I look forward to seeing how much more they give us. If they’re most recent live performances are any indication, they just keep getting better and better. I think we’re seeing the real rise of the next big girl group here. I wasn’t a true Harmonizer, then I heard this album and I was won over. 9/10 for sure!
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