Fifth Harmony, Fifth Harmony | Album Review
‘Fifth Harmony,’ the self-titled third album from Fifth Harmony is a slim, enjoyable effort, but not game changing or incredibly memorable.
Things changed for pop girl group Fifth Harmony in 2017. Camila Cabello spread her wings, leaving the group to pursue a solo career. Happens often with boy- and girl groups. Nonetheless, Fifth Harmony continues on as a quartet, releasing their third studio album, Fifth Harmony. A slim LP to say the least, it’s enjoyable all in all, not game changing or incredibly memorable.
Opener “Down” has a familiar sound, that plays to the urban-pop sensibilities of Fifth Harmony. The production is slick, while the girls amp up the sexiness, swagger, and gimmicks. The chorus, though not profound, is a selling point. Ultimately, the record is enjoyable enough without being a classic. The biggest objection is that it suffers from being less memorable than “Work,” the mega-hit which it’s styled after.
“He Like That,” like “Down” is chocked-full of attitude and feistiness. Naturally, the innuendo is turned up, again, playing to the strengths of the group. “He Like That” benefits greatly from its production work, which is a mix between pop, R&B, and reggae/island vibes. The use of tropic cues has become oversaturated greatly in pop and urban music, but works out well for Fifth Harmony here.
“Sauced Up” keeps the energy charged-up, or rather, “sauced up.” Similar to the two records that precede it, “Sauced Up” is enjoyable, not groundbreaking. Again, this sounds like a single – a record perfect for dancing in the club, or a relaxed drive with the top down. It’s well sung, slicky produced, and ultimately, unobjectionable.
“Make You Mad”
“Make You Mad” gives the girls an electro-urban-pop joint. As polished and ornate as it sounds, it’s not particularly distinct. That sounds impossible, but the biggest con is predictability. This is built on clichés – the game has already been played a number of times over. Vocally, great. Thematically, predictable. They deliver much more convincingly on “Deliver.” The record still has its gimmicks and tongue-n-cheek moments, but ultimately plays better.
On “Lonely Night,” Fifth Harmony have high expectations for their men.
“If you don’t treat ya mama right, bye-bye, bye-bye / If you got another chick on the side, bye-bye / You look everywhere but my eyes, bye-bye, bye-bye / It’s gonna be a lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely night.”
Again, the results are positive overall, but don’t propel Fifth Harmony to the next level. “Don’t Say You Love Me” gives the girls a more serious number, the first of the album. It still has groove working in its favor, but the excitability is turned down a smidge.
The edgier “Angel” arrives in the nick of time, contrasting the more thoughtful “Don’t Say You Love Me.” Sure, f-bombs don’t make an artist, nor are they synonymous with maturity. But, the more hard-nosed, unapologetic sound of the record plays into the hands of pop music these days. While it has bite, solid vocals, and tight production work, “Angel” still falls just short of a knockout punch.
The final two songs are okay at best. Penultimate cut may not be “Messy” in quality, but it’s also not a progressive step. Like “Don’t Say You Love Me,” there’s a more serious vibe. Yet, with most of Fifth Harmony being tongue-n-cheek, why go serious now? “Bridges,” like “Messy” takes a stab at maturity. Admirable, but not particularly engaging ultimately.
All in all, Fifth Harmony is a brief, enjoyable affair. The foursome work well as a unit, still delivering a brand of feisty, suggestive music. The problem is, this album is merely good, not great. At 33 minutes, it still feels they could’ve scrapped a couple of songs, replacing them with better ones. This effort provides a temporary high, but there’s a definitely comedown and ultimately, that comedown entails limited memorability of the events that took place.
Gems: “Down,” “He Like That,” “Sauced Up,” “Deliver” & “Angel”