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Fifth Harmony's 7/27: BH Review

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Does Fifth Harmony have enough girl power to fuel their sophomore album?

Fifth Harmony Review 1


Fifth Harmony underwhelms on their hotly anticipated album.



One song into Fifth Harmony’s second album and it’s clear: you’ve heard this before. The bouncy horns in the opening track “That’s My Girl” instantly recall their breakout hit “Worth It” while its lyrics boost the sassy, confident message of sisterhood with which the girl group has become so closely identified (“Destiny said you got to get up and get it / Get mad independent, don’t you ever forget it”). Unfortunately, familiarity isn’t a big problem that Fifth Harmony faces on 7/27, named for the date they were thrown together, One Direction style, on The X Factor after unsuccessfully auditioning as individual artists. Despite the title’s homage to the their roots as a band, the girls largely abandon the music styles and lyrical themes that made them so alluring upon their debut.

Given their manufactured origins in reality television (and the fact that they didn’t actually win that competition), it’s remarkable how globally successful Fifth Harmony has become in such a short time. They are routinely mentioned in the same breath as other massively popular girl groups like Destiny’s Child, Dixie Chicks, and the Pussycat Dolls. But their triumphs are not without merit. The five girls who make up the group—Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui, and Normani Kordei—are each gifted vocalists, and their zippy debut album Reflection was surprisingly fun, savvy, and slickly produced.

Fifth Harmony Review 2


One would hope 7/27 would build upon that trend, but Fifth Harmony’s second effort fails to deliver. The girls cast away the youthful energy and contagious pep that defined Reflection in favor of midtempo tracks that are designed to convince us how much they have matured in the sixteen months between albums. And while some growth is welcomed, their deliberate diversion away from electro-R&B and toward tropical house music, a la Rihanna, is what truly kills the spirit of the album. The chief culprit in this misinformed genre shift is “All in My Head (Flex)”, a breezy but stupefied dance track complete with a regrettable cameo from Fetty Wap. It’s a rare moment in which the group’s swagger is annoying rather than empowering.

The vast majority of the tracks don’t encumber the album as noticeably, but they are certainly forgettable. “I Lied” sounds like a bastardized leftover track from JoJo’s recent foray into dance music while “Squeeze” is as cheesy as it is numbing. 7/27 also suffers from a lack of true ballads; even when songs like “Dope” and “No Way” slow down the tempo, the girls seem more content to “chill” than offer soulful interludes and highlight their dynamic vocals, much like they did with “We Know” on Reflection.

Bright moments of relief come from the catchy hook and playful lyrics of the infectious lead single “Work From Home” (“You don’t gotta go to work / Let my body do the work”). “Write on Me” is an enjoyably tender approach to the album’s breezy dance inclinations, even if it feels a bit out of place. But only “Not That Kinda Girl” manages to capture the group’s charm that is so sorely lacking elsewhere. The earworm of a song’s best quality is not the delectable verse from Missy Elliott (although, that’s usually an album highlight, no matter who the main artist is), but its unexpectedly adept ode to the late Prince.

fifth-harmony-ellen


Still, even on the strongest tracks, the album’s heart sounds phoned in. The singers themselves, who—despite the name of their band—don’t harmonize so much as blend their vocals together into the same note, sound bored by the material. They’re dull even when promoting a carefree lifestyle of wealth and fun on “The Life”. (Is this the life? I’m wholly unconvinced.) Perhaps it’s an intentional ploy to come off more sophisticated, or maybe their publicly acknowledged creative differences have forced them to compromise musically to unsatisfying ends. Only Cabello, whose chipper, breathy vocals also make her the most distinctive singer in the group, sounds like she’s enjoying herself, so it’s no wonder she has the most solos.

7/27 doesn’t sound like a sophomore album improving upon what its predecessor did so well. Instead, it seems like a ploy for credibility. But by chasing trends and repressing their vivacious bravada, Fifth Harmony loses what made them so endearing in the first place. This isn’t to say fans won’t be pleased; there’s enough here to keep even the most passionate of Harmonizers happy, and several of the tracks are smartly designed for extensive play on radio and in the club. But 7/27 and its revamped pseudo-maturity won’t win the girls any new converts. Still, the women of Fifth Harmony have already built their collective career on defying the odds; a subpar album is disappointing, but it certainly won’t derail the world’s premier girl group.

Thoughts? Let us know in Exhale.



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No Way is the only song I like. All the other songs are noisy, and cheap. :BBMAney:

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Both of their albums suck tbh,  there's only 3 good tracks on Reflection 1 of which is a deluxe bonus and there's only 4 good tracks on 7/27 2 of which or deluxe bonuses! 

Best tracks on 7/27:

Work From Home

Not That Kinda Girl

Dope

No Way 

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57 minutes ago, pimmelfratze said:

wow, honestly this Exhale review though. i mean Fifth Harmony definitely delivered on this album, it includes so much hooks and good tunes within 7/27. It's a mass improvement over Reflection and the solo parts were divided more equally in this album - a complain held by many for the first album and also not many girl groups have such equal distribution solo parts. Pussycat Dolls which is probably the last commercially successful girl group doesn't even have this equal vocal distribution. 

I find this a very refreshing attempt by them, there are definitely some hits and misses but collectively, it is a much stronger effort than Reflection and positions them well within the pop world. 

I actually really agree with this. This review tore the album to shreds. I actually really like it and all my friends, who have heard it like it also. 

It definitely does have some misses but it has some really great hits as well. 

 

I do agree with the part of the review about All In My Head though.... :BBMAney: (We'll put that in the miss category) :zoomzoom:

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Wrong. Wrong. So wrong. This review was clearly written by someone who is not a fan of the group, making it a pre-determined opinion rather than an actual review and honestly, for me, loses credibility for the author as a whole. All this "review" did was bash the girls.

I'm not saying 7/27 is the best album ever or anything, but it's not "sub-par" to Reflection.

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I mean I liked what I heard. I'll give it a good listen this week. 

Even the teeny bopper generation that obsesses over them is letting this album flop. It's number 6 on iTunes. With heavy promo. That's alarming 

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I agree with the reviewer. This group is without soul and they should split real soon :tiffanynod:

 

Their Talk Dirty 2.0 stole airplay from Pretty Girls and stopped it from reaching its full potential. I won't forgive :rihit:

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Songs are really basic and generic. I feel like Work is the only song that is single material. Their first album was better.

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I loved 80% of Reflection and was so ready to be slayed once i heard Work From Home and The Life...but this album disappointed me so much. Ive listened to it 3 times in full and dont love one song as much as Work. Its a bit of a boring album. The group claims theyve found their sound but if this is it, im not impressed.

I love the group and like their live performances but now i cant even imagine going to their tour n sit through a full show with this material. 

Oh-And im not a prude but all the cussing in the bonus tracks seem so try hard... 

Wtf 5H :crying2::crying2::crying2:

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I Lied, Dope and No Way are the best. They should be the next singles till they split at the end of the era.

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All in My Head (Flex) is my jam! I just wish it didn't have Fetty Wap in it. He ruins the song. :(

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They are trying waay too hard to be 'sexy'. Their performances are terrible, they sing flat, they can't dance and they aren't in time with each other at ALL. It's a bunch of solo singers using the name Fifth Harmony to individually promote themselves.

As for the album except a couple of tracks its basic AF. They've (once again) recycled music trends that have been around for years. They havent found their 'sound' because their isn't one.

They have no chemistry or charisma to be as successful as previous girl groups. And by the looks of their recent appearances in the UK things aren't all well amongst them. I get the impression they don't like each other tbh 

And idm swearing on songs but seriously you don't have to swear to prove you're grown up. May I also remind you that they are all under 23 :eeek: 

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7 hours ago, Spearsfan said:

I mean I liked what I heard. I'll give it a good listen this week. 

Even the teeny bopper generation that obsesses over them is letting this album flop. It's number 6 on iTunes. With heavy promo. That's alarming 

Nah no promo at all in the US so far for this album specifically.

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What a flop, biased review. It sounds like it was written by a Little Mix stan.

To say Reflection was better than this is an absolute joke.  

That's My Girl, Work From Home, and All In My Head are mammoth bangers that sh!t on the discography of every girl-group release since 2008. The rest of the album is full of bops. The only song that doesn't do anything for me is Gonna Get Better. 

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16 minutes ago, liquidblue said:

What a flop, biased review. It sounds like it was written by a Little Mix stan.

To say Reflection was better than this is an absolute joke.  

That's My Girl, Work From Home, and All In My Head are mammoth bangers that sh!t on the discography of every girl-group release since 2008. The rest of the album is full of bops. The only song that doesn't do anything for me is Gonna Get Better. 

Yes, yes and YESSSSSSS!   7/27 is amazing tbh.

 

And I love those music experts....."well you know...back in the day girl groups used to be so in sync and harmonized really well together. They have no soul nowadays"...it's been AGES since there was the last functional girl group out there...Victoria didn't sing in the Spice Girls....Nicole was the only singer in the Pussycat Dolls....give me a break and take several seats while you all bang to Work, AIMH and others. We'll talk again when AIMH will be their next top10 hit. :bsass:

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I don't really GAF about the group, but this review is ridiculous.  I never post on Exhale but I had to log in to comment on this.  I have never seen a more skewed, intentionally negative review of an album.  

 

To the reviewer: did you even listen to the album, or did you go to the middle of the iTunes previews and listen to 30 seconds of each track?  I've only listened to the first five tracks, and I will probably listen to all of them again.  None of them were bad enough to illicit such a one-sided review.  

 

Sure, you threw them a bone by complimenting their popularity and status, but albums take a LOT of hard work, even for the artists who are very hands-off.  There is definite vocal and writing improvement from their first album, and the quality of the tracks on 7/27 are in NO WAY a step down from those on Reflection.  

 

If you wanna go after an album for being boring, a step backward, and "underwhelming," write a review of "Thank You"

 

Having such narrow, specific opinions of songs that came out mere hours ago is laughable.  

 

Next time, wait till you have something to say about an album, rather than picking an album you know you'll have the exclusive to review for the site, and forcing yourself to have an opinion.

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10 hours ago, Peace said:

Nah no promo at all in the US so far for this album specifically.

Dude promoting the single is promoting the album. They have been on every show. 

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On 29.5.2016 at 8:55 AM, TommyExhale said:

The five girls who make up the group—Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui, and Normani Kordei...

You know a review is gonna get messy when it includes the full name of every member of the group except one. :gloria:

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10 hours ago, ElectroPop said:

I don't really GAF about the group, but this review is ridiculous.  I never post on Exhale but I had to log in to comment on this.

Yeah, right, we believe you. :tbh:

Spoiler

:queenie:

 

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tbh, these are the reasons why I prefer Little Mix. Those girls are incredible vocalists, but they actually operate as a group/unit in a way 5H doesn't appear to do, along with the fact their songs are simply more fun and have more personality wheras the personality 5H displayed on X-Factor has been severely muted in their professional career. Most songs on this album are broken up in to solo verses of one kind or another, and the actual "harmonies" are limited. Which is ironic given their name...lol

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Not here for a bunch of chicks who think they're hot and won't stop acting (dancing, shaking, weaving) like they're Beyonce. No creativity, no identity, no real value added to POP or RNB or whatever they do. There's nothing "empowering" about "give it to me I'm worth it" or "I'm sitting pretty and patient"... I pass. One Beyonce is enough. 

:brityeah:

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