Anybody a fan of X-factor? Although they finished 3rd in the competition when all members entered in 2012, they are arguably the most successful act from the franchise. These girls clearly have talent but have their voices been used to their full potential in their new album 7/27? Let’s get into my rankings…
12. All In My Head (Flex)
You know a song didn’t really have focus when it has two titles. The first impression is pretty bad–I hope I’m not offending when I say this–Fetty Wap feels like he’s straining to hit the right notes in his whole intro. He’s hardly comprehensible in this song, just like this entire song. “It’s all in my head,” what does that even mean? That this was all a day-dream? I dear hope so.
11. Not That Kinda Girl
I think it’s trying to be catchy? But what part of this is hummable? The bass guitar? HEY! I don’t even wanna nod my head as much as I want to shake my head. Overly busy, this feels like a party song where the HEY! HEY! HEY! DJ messed with the song too much.
10. That’s My Girl
Rhythmically, this song is really redundant. The main bass hits always comes on the beat and most of the vocal notes in the verses are on the off-beat. As if that wasn’t uninteresting enough, the vocal notes in the chorus also come on the beat–you really can’t mess up clapping to this song–except in the pre-chorus where the percussion is actually good.
9. The Life
The song starts off strong then turns for the worse. Vocals are often nasally and the choruses falls flat melodically. I also don’t approve of all the post-production editing decisions. There is some singing that occurs on top of these effects and listen to how much better it sounds. The potential of The Life was squashed into something fairly generic.
8. No Way
This is a type of song I will normally like but for some reason it just doesn’t completely work for me–something is off about No Way. The vocal performances are sufficiently sulked with emotion to be sure. The percussion though? I think what this song was missing a background that could further the atmosphere of the song and the pitches of the melody. Instead you get someone banging on the door. Stop it! I’m trying to listen to the song!
7. Scared of Happy
The beginning really reminds me of Bieber’s What Do You Mean. Then it’s like, whoa, this is a 5H song. The vocal entrance is noticeable: they are clearly stronger vocalists than Bieber. I’m not saying Scared of Happy is better than What Do You Mean–the instrumental sections are some of the most glaring weak spots of this song and the percussion misses the point at times–but the vocals are probably the most enjoyable aspect of this song.
6. I Lied
I’ll give it to I Lied, the effect on words thrill and chill was pretty cool. The instrumental sections were also some of the better of the album. I Lied flat out rejects the notion of love being more exciting than sex, which was communicated creatively through a “lie.” However, this one lacks the X-factor to make it anything more than run-of-the-mill.
5. Write On Me
Negative points for blatantly stealing parts from Andy Grammer’s Fine by Me? Nevertheless, this one has a strong sense of groove. It doesn’t seem that way in the beginning where chords dominate the sound but once the percussion and synthesizer comes in, it adds a lot to a song that sounds like it was written for a choir. This is especially true in the choruses. It’s a strange fusion that I thought really worked.
This is the most a cappella of their tracks and the effect is tranquil and pleasant. It’s not quite what you expect from a song called “Dope” but it impresses nonetheless–the song utilizes silence effectively. The choruses primarily consists of vowels like “doo” and it brought me back to my undergraduate a cappella days in all the right ways.
It’s admittedly a strange title for a good song to have–and I’m not a fan of the way the lyrics were written–but I imagine this is the way Selena Gomez would want her songs to turn out (if she could sing better). Not only are the vocal lines catchy but there are some flat-out gorgeous harmonies that 5H sings. Plus, I really like the chords of the background–it makes me smile.
2. Gonna Get Better
Gonna Get Better could have received a higher grade if it kept the acoustic guitar sound going throughout the song but the way song progresses into electronic is fine too. One wouldn’t really call this EDM or techno as much as it would be pop, and as such, this one has a very nice running melody with some stretches that is reminiscent of rap. I’m not sure if there’s an allocated rapper in the group but she is up to par with the rest of the song. In all, very thought-out and well-developed.
1. Work from Home
This song has been out for a while now but let me tell you right now: this song did not top US charts for no reason. It’s surprisingly simple for how catchy it is. The background feels like it could’ve been from Grande’s studio, reminding me of something like One Last Time. There is some reliance on the synthesizer that annoyed me in Not That Kinda Girl but a clean performance from the 5H squad featuring clear blend allows us to soak in everything this song has to offer, harmonies and all.
Averaged album rating: 6.1 (Enjoyable)
7/27 offers some strong vocal performances and home-run songs from the members of Fifth Harmony. However, I’m not convinced that their music is best suited for their voice. Perhaps pursuing something that is a bit more vocally challenging and raw could allow them to put forth some music that is more nuanced, moving, and engaging.