By now you’ve definitely heard of Fifth Harmony. Even if you can’t name each member, you’ve chanted their undeniably catchy hit single “Worth It” at a party last summer, and for the past couple of months you’ve definitely been blasting “Work From Home” in your car on repeat. Maybe you’ve even heard their brassy “BOSS” or the electro-pop “Sledgehammer” playing in a store at one point. The girl group is certainly on the rise, and their latest album 7/27 is their foray into becoming superstars.
Where their debut album Reflection saw the girls jumping around several genres, 7/27 is rooted purely in an R&B/pop sound. It’s the perfect medium for each of the members to shine through with their dynamic vocals; the Destiny’s Child comparisons are almost inescapable, mostly because it’s hard to remember a time when a girl group was working at this caliber while managing to hit their marks. Even songs like “I Lied” and “Gonna Get Better” are made into more memorable moments on the album because of the personality evoked.
“Work From Home” was probably the smartest choice for a lead single; it’s simple and memorable, but just a warm up of was to follow. The next single, “All In My Head” featuring Fetty Wap is every bit as catchy, if not more so. The Missy Elliot collaboration “Not That Kinda Girl” also screams single, but both pale in comparison to the album’s opener “That’s My Girl,” a song that can best be described as “Problem” by Ariana Grande on steroids. It’s a MONSTER of a song, one that should most definitely be given the single treatment at some point. Co-written by the most underrated singer/songwriter working her way up through the industry today, Tinsahe, it’s somehow even more sax-heavy than the group’s breakthrough hit “Worth It” and features a more explosive chorus than anything else on the radio right now.
The bright spots on 7/27 eclipse those found on Reflection, although as an album this one doesn’t lend itself to repeat listenings like the other one did. There is plenty of talent, but ultimately the girls deserve better material than songs like “Squeeze” and the aforementioned “I Lied.” The bonus tracks don’t really make the deluxe edition worth purchasing either; “Dope” and “No Way” are two further examples of the girls trying elevate mediocre songwriting. Even the breezier cuts, “Write On Me” and “The Life” never go beyond being just solid filler. Though cohesive in sound, 7/27 could have definitely used some tightening; the girls give it their all, but the songwriting just isn’t there at times.
Nevertheless there’s enough here to please the devoted “Harmonizers” and any new listeners looking to get into some good girl group music. 7/27’s status as an album you can listen to on loop may differ from who you ask, but what’s not up for debate is that the girls of Fifth Harmony are definitely about to enter a whole new phase in their careers.
***Essential Tracks: “That’s My Girl,” “Work From Home,” “Write On Me,” “All In My Head (Flex)” and “Not That Kinda Girl”***