I have been absolutely obsessed and have listened to this CD on repeat since it was released. Fifth Harmony’s self-titled third album has represented such a huge milestone and moment in the groups career. Fifth Harmony have grown and changed massively since they formed and I feel the girls have found so much more of their sound and style with this album. I am incredibly happy for the group and have loved every note of these new songs.
I can not help but compare this new release with their previous album 7/27 which came out last year. I can say right now that I have enjoyed listening to Fifth Harmony much more; the new songs are sassier, and faster. The beat and style is more R’n’B than their previous music which I enjoyed massively. All of the girls’ voices fit the R’n’B genre compared to their old sound which was a lot more Pop style. Looking back at their music, you can see the girls have dipped into and experimented with R’n’B in all of their albums with hits like Worth It and Work From Home. However with the changes to the group in the past year, it’s so great to see the girls diving right into and relishing R’n’B in almost every track on their new album.
I can not go any further without talking about Camila, who decided to leave the group in December last year. Their first album as a foursome, I, as well as the rest of the world, didn’t know what to expect but I think the girls couldn’t have smashed it any better and exceeded all of my expectations. As much as I love Camila and her solo music – I think she’s extremely talented and her passion and creativity for music shines through her in a unique way – I actually feel the group is better as a four-piece. The four voices complement each other and it’s clear the girls all feel strongly about the style they are creating, and are happy to deviate away from the old genre. I can not imagine Camila’s personality or voice on these tracks. Although Camila exited the group rather swiftly and there was a fair bit of drama surrounding it at the time, it appears it was the right move and step forward for all of the girls as Camila has been delving into her own Latino style, and Fifth Harmony seem to have removed their reins and have experimented more with R’n’B.
Camila has already revealed in recent interviews that she felt objectified whilst in the group, which probably refers to revealing outfits, costumes and music videos. I really feel the group is no longer being held back by this, as the remaining members appear to embrace the sexy outfits and music videos. With the release of the He Like That music video, I can not see Camila being a part of the choreography or style whilst the other girls actually own it and look comfortable. Whilst it’s obvious Camila is more reserved and collected, I believe Fifth Harmony are now all on the same page and all enjoy their sexy persona, with no one member holding them back by feeling uncomfortable or not agreeing with certain aspects of their choreography or music. In my opinion, I think the four voices actually sound better without Camila because she does have a very unique, flexible and over-powering voice which would not fit the new low and raspy tone the group is performing in this album. I could not be happier with how the group have taken this opportunity to grow closer and communicate their common interests in their music and style. As I have said, it feels like all the girls are now on the same page and are heading for the same goal. This is as well as appreciating their own individual strengths and sharing the lead vocals on each track rather than keeping the same roles for each song, which was what their set-up used to be like when they were first starting out in the industry.
The group have obviously grown so much, and are now more mature. I know I said this about their last album, but people evolve constantly and whilst 7/27 experimented with this new genre, this record really makes it Fifth Harmony’s own sound. Although it seems impossible for the group to become any more confident than they already were, it’s also clear that the girls have more security and faith in their abilities. This shows most in Dinah Jane and Normani. I love how Dinah takes more of the leading vocals in these new tracks and she does such a brilliant job and fills every note with passion and strength. At the beginning of Fifth Harmony’s career, I always felt Dinah was overlooked which was probably down to her being the youngest member and being more shy than the other girls. Seeing Dinah now, you can really tell she has found her voice, her personality, and has the confidence any young fan would look up to. I was also pleasantly surprised by Normani as she takes on much more challenging notes and vocals in this album and it all pays off. It feels as though she has also grown in confidence, and wants to take risks rather than play it safe. She is the main example for what I mentioned above in regards to the girls coming out of their usual set-up; whilst Normani would normally take on low notes, and the fast sassy verses, this album shows how much she has developed taking the lead vocals and rifting. I obviously adore Lauren with a passion and I am biased to write about my favourite part of each song, because every favourite part would be her part. I just feel there is a maturity and uniqueness to her tone. Ally continues to be supportive to the other girls in every track, whether that be taking the lead or not. I think Ally is one of the best for backing vocals as her voice is so high and precised. She’s definitely got a sweetness to her and I am inspired by how loyal she is to the group.
As you can see I feel strongly about this album and I think it might be the first record I would be happy to listen to over and over again. I also really like how there are only 10 tracks, because it makes every tune special, and it doesn’t overload you with tracks just for the sake of making a longer album. It gives off the feeling that the girls hand-picked every song and that every story means something to them. Having an album longer may run the risk of including “filler” tracks which are not as good as the others. It seems the group have focused on a smaller list of tunes to make them the best they could be. The album art is stunning and is actually very simplistic. They have traded in the breathtaking outfits and scenery from their last album with hallucinating, alienating colours which is super cool. Even the album booklet containing lyrics and thank-yous from the girls show the group in pale pink and cream outfits with neutral hair and make-up, which I think presented a serious and mature vibe. The girls understood the media, the fans, the industry were watching them closely to see their next move, so they have decided to keep these aspects calm and composed to show their peace with now being a foursome.
Obviously the name of the album was also highly important and I think there was no better way to go than to self-title. The media have been questioning a name change, the group getting a replacement member, or even the group splitting up after Camila’s exit so it was an extremely clever move to show everybody watching that the girls are not changing. I think it’s so empowering to convey that the girls are sticking to their roots and are staying together because that’s who they are. Not only is it a nod to them not changing their name or any other aspect, but it also acted as a reminder of their identity.
Whilst their previous music presented a lot of intimate romantic themes as well as messages of girl power and confidence, the girls clearly feel they have already covered those themes, and have decided to sing more about the saucy, sexy side of love as well as touching on being kinky or cheeky. It’s so refreshing to listen to, and I have actually felt sexy in myself whilst playing the lyrics and the beats. The girls use their sexuality so creatively.
“There ain’t no kinda situation where I wouldn’t cross a line for you, FBI interrogation I would get up there and lie for you,”
Down is the first track on the album and is the only song to feature another artist. I think this shows how strong and secure the group are on their own, however I still loved Gucci Mane’s verse and it does make the opening song stand out. Down has been compared heavily to Work From Home which was the girls’ most famous song from their previous album, due to the repetitive chorus and beat. Although this can be a criticism, others have noted how the girls released this as their first single and opening track to offer some familiarity with that of their previous music. I feel that the new songs are so different from what the group have done before, it’s easy and sensitive to include Down almost as a transitional aid by presenting the sound they are most famous for.
“He got that dope boy cash, but he get it nine to five-ing, He got a thing for them girls that make their money overnightning,”
– HE LIKE THAT
Next we have He Like That which is, without doubt, my favourite song on this album. All four girls use their vocal strengths to stand out and I just love the sexy message. The group’s self-confidence shine through this song and it spills morals of feeling strong, powerful and comfortable. The lyrics and tune is also highly addictive and the music video which came out last month is super hot and is so well directed and choreographed. It’s beautiful to see four young women of all different shapes, sizes, races and style all own what they do and how they look and using that to promote being secure with your own sex and feminity.
“I don’t want no problems, I want power.
I’m drivin’, you follow,”
– SAUCED UP
Sauced Up is very similar to He Like That in the beat and messages however I felt it has more of a fun, lively, up-beat vibe to present living free without worries. Whilst the previous track was fairly intimate and flirty, Sauced Up is more an open message to everyone and the lyrics are less weighted because of this. It’s also got a sick beat and I think Ally’s voice handles the lead magnificently. Make You Mad is the next song on the album and I think the beat of this one is one of the best. It’s a very easy song to get hooked on and again presents the confidence and power the group are trying to promote.
“I’m gonna make you miss me, I’m gonna make you so mad,
I’m gonna make sure I’m the best you ever had,”
– MAKE YOU MAD
“No need for replacements or a warrantee,
And he’ll never need another, that’s a guarantee,”
The next song is Deliver which was another single released by the group. The lyrics and tune are really intricate and clever and it’s also sexy in it’s own sleek, mature way, and, i’ll say it again, it’s confident. Dinah and Ally’s voices complement each other elegantly in this track and I feel it really stretches their abilities. I absolutely love Lonely Night which is the next track, and it reminded me of Not That Kinda Girl from 7/27. In the same way that the Fifth Harmony album is more mature, and R’n’B, comparing these songs just presents this in such a specific way. Whilst Not That Kinda Girl included quite high notes, and was almost cheeky and childish, Lonely Night shows, even in the title, that these girls have grown and learned in relationships and have found confidence with that. It’s got such a catchy sound, and I think any girl would relate to the message of getting involved with a guy who is messing you around.
“If you don’t treat ya mama right, bye-bye, bye-bye,”
– LONELY NIGHT
Don’t Say You Love Me is the slowest and deepest song on Fifth Harmony and I think that is what makes the track so special. Whilst a lot of the album is spent building on self-confidence and being more sexy and more powerful in relationships, Don’t Say You Love Me has quite a sad atmosphere to it and presents so many sorrowful situations like hurting in love, rejection, false promises, waiting for someone, being unsatisfied in love and each girl has the chance to sing the chorus lines in their own way which just makes it more personal. I definitely love the story behind this track and it’s so heart-felt and relatable so it feels real.
“You think words can ease the tension,
But you can’t deny that something’s missin’,”
– DON’T SAY YOU LOVE ME
The next song is Angel which is the sassiest song and I think is the most associated with R’n’B. The verses are very quick and cheeky that it sometimes feels like the girls are rapping. The lyrics and beats are reminiscent of 90’s music and I think this was reflected in the group’s music video. Lauren’s voice is actually stunning in this song and Normani owns her parts so well that it’s as if she wrote them herself. I also think Normani’s voice goes alongside Dinah’s voice beautifully in the choruses because they both have such different tones.
“Should’ve never crossed that line with ya,
Everything was cool, just drinkin’ with ya,”
Messy is next and I think it’s the only song that I don’t absolutely love which is saying something about how amazing this album is. The meaning of the lyrics are a bit mysterious but I still feel the messages of self-acceptance and self-confidence slipping through as the girls sing about being themselves and that they may be “messy” or “crazy” sometimes but how they’re not changing who they are. I think that’s a great message to put out there, especially for their young fans. I personally didn’t vibe with this track because I didn’t feel it fit with the other songs which are much more powerful but I also think this song can be extremely real and relatable.
“I can be cruel sometimes, outta my mind, Insecure and out the door, I’m who I am, and you don’t have to wonder,”
Finally, we have Bridges which has loads of connotations and meanings and being the finale it makes it even more impactful and special. The vocals and the lyrics are full of kindness and peace and it shows how the girls are taking more responsibility and care with their music. Not only does the song potentially refer to Camila’s dramatic exit from the group and how the girls have learned not to “burn bridges” and to be kind and supportive of each other using communication and unity, I feel the words could easily hint towards the current political situation in America. The fact that the meaning is not certain makes this such a beautiful track with an open-minded and accepting message.
“There’s something beautiful in the flaws in all we are,”
I just can’t get over how amazing the girls have pulled together this album and they do everything with such dignity. I will continue to play Fifth Harmony on repeat and I just can’t wait for the future because all four of these women are beautiful and talented and I would want every young person to have them as their role models. This album is a testament to the group’s strength, love and kindness.
Love, love, love.