REVIEW: Fifth Harmony – Reflection


“I struggle to contain the love that’s in my veins and how it circulates.”

Young and still finding their way, Fifth Harmony tackles representation, independence, and the importance of female friendship in their debut LP.

Taking on selfies and self-love in a way that only a teenage girl can do, former X-Factor contestants Ally Brooke Hernandez, Camilla Cabello, Dinah Jane Hansen, Lauren Jauregui, and Normani Kordei, better known as Fifth Harmony, depart from their poppier sound on their Better Together EP in favor of a stronger R&B sound. After several delays in release, the album released on February 3, 2015.

Drawing influence from previous girl bands and 90s R&B, Fifth Harmony’s debut release is a solid debut release. Despite cheesy lyrics, the girl group’s empowering message is delivered through blaring horns, driving beats, and strong harmonies.

In a post-“Uptown Funk” pop music era, the first track off the album is hard to not compare with the Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson jam, especially with the talk-singing in the verses. While it’s not as infectious as “Funk”, it’s a solid intro track that segues into the album’s lead single, “BO$$”.

“BO$$” is sassy and exhudes confidence, as the girls proclaim, “I’m on my Michelle Obama sh–” The song preemptively answers the question, “What would ‘Independent Woman’ sound like in 2015?” while naming the First Lady and Oprah’s success as goals to aspire to. Undeniably fun, compared to the followup single, “Sledgehammer,” “BO$$” falls short.

Penned by Meghan Trainor, “Sledgehammer” is arguably one of the strongest contenders on the release, both deluxe and standard. Lyrically and vocally sound, the track is every bit as empowering as “BO$$”, but less simplistic.

Other standouts include “Like Mariah”, which samples Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby“, and the title track, “Reflection”.

A subverted love song, “Reflection’s” verses are seemingly directed to a love interest, before faking out listeners with, “Boy, I ain’t talkin’ bout you, I’m talkin’ bout my reflection!” Those who support the self-care selfie are sure to enjoy this song, as well as 5H’s dedicated fanbase. (And it doesn’t hurt that One Direction’s Liam Payne has offered to remix the song.)

While rhyming “Michelle Obama” with “Oprah dollars” won’t win any songwriting awards, and references to Instagram and the Nae Nae are a little cheesy, the release is catchy enough that fans will have the lyrics down by the time their Reflection tour date rolls around.

A solid debut release, Fifth Harmony exhibits self-awareness in the age of pop culture feminism, and is sure to win the hearts of 90s girl band fans and their little sisters.

Follow Fifth Harmony on Twitter to keep up with all things 5H, and see them during their Reflection Tour at a city near you this spring.
Watch the videos for “BO$$” and “Sledgehammer” below.

Listen to: “Sledgehammer”, “Like Mariah”, “Reflection”
Rating: 3/5

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Comments

  1. Reblogged this on carina blogs and commented:
    I love girl bands, and Fifth Harmony is no exception.

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