Fifth Harmony went from a five to a four in December 2016 when Camila Cabello abruptly quit the group. The band entered into a messy ‘she said, we said’ scenario expressing disappointment at the way Cabello left the group after being with them for four years. The remaining members – Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane and Lauren Jauregui – announced their intention to continue as a four-piece and they announced a new record deal with the promise of new music soon. The first cut from the group in their new formation was Down featuring Gucci Mane, which sounds a little like a distant cousin of their biggest hit to date Work From Home.
Despite having all of the makings of a monster hit, Down hasn’t really exploded the way it should have stalling at 42 on the Billboard 100. It’s an odd one really as it’s a solid track with strong vocals and each of the girls getting the opportunity to shine. Last week Fifth Harmony released their third studio album, a self-titled collection featuring 10 tracks and opening with Down.
All eyes will be on how much impact the departure of Cabello has had on the group. Quite honestly, you don’t even really notice she’s not there. The other four girls share the vocals out more evenly and it’s actually nice to hear more of their voices without Cabello being constantly pushed to the front. Sonically the album continues the sound the group has established on their first two releases. The beats are contemporary with the group pushing forward with their sassy pop sound.
He Like That, which is the new single, borrows a little of Rihanna’s sound for a perfect summer dance track. The lyrics may be a little questionable but there’s no denying that the song is infectious and addictive. Elsewhere on the album the group ventures into trap-pop for the Skrillex and Poo Bear produced Angel, which positions them as edgier and more mature, and they have fun on the pumping club anthem Sauced Up.
The closest the album gets to a ballad is on closing number Bridges, which is an inspiring number that encourages fans to break down walls and support one another. In this politically bizarre time we find ourselves in, it’s a poignant message. Deliver is one of the standout moments on the record with the girls unleashing their feisty sides over crunchy R&B beats and Make You Mad features shimmering beats and seductive vocals.
If you’re looking for deep and meaningful then Fifth Harmony won’t be your cup of tea but if you want to forget your troubles and dance the night away, this is the perfect album. Fifth Harmony sound better than ever and the more equal split on the vocals is welcome. I don’t think fans have anything to worry about when it comes to the future of the group!
Track listing: 1. Down (feat Gucci Mane) 2. He Like That 3. Sauced Up 4. Make You Mad 5. Deliver 6. Lonely Night 7. Don’t Say You Love Me 8. Angel 9. Messy 10. Bridges Record Label: Syco / Epic Release Date: 25th August 2017