Review: Fifth Harmony’s self-titled album brings more noise, little depth

Posted on Sep 5 2017 - 8:00am by Hannah Willis

Last week, Fifth Harmony of X-Factor fame released its third album, self-titled “Fifth Harmony.” This album establishes its new sound and look after its fifth member, Camila Cabello, left the group last year. The R&B and pop style Fifth Harmony is known for continues to heavily influence its music this time around, as well.

fifth harmony

Photo courtesy: Capital FM

The question is: Who is Fifth Harmony now that there are only four?

The answer is given over and over again in choruses. The best parts of these 10 songs are in their chorus, but there’s only so long a listener can hear eight words repeated. Not that some of the songs aren’t good, but they’re just very similar.

This album is great to dance to. I’m sure you’ll hear a couple of Fifth Harmony songs this weekend on the Square, and they’ll fit in perfectly. Later in your car, however, you might be tempted to hit the skip button.

There is some new EDM and dubstep flavor to this album, thanks to the producing efforts of Skrillex and the Stereotypes. However, even that influence comes off weak, like dipping a toe in the water instead of diving in.

The album’s standouts are “He Like That,” “Angel” and “Down.” “Deliver” and “Lonely Night” are similar in that the chorus keeps you around and the rest of the lyrics are something you get through. There are some entertaining melodies in both of these songs, but it’s just surrounded by a lot of fluff.

Fifth Harmony has always had a heavy R&B influence, and it’s best heard in this album’s “Angel.” While it’s nice to listen to, “Angel” tries a little too hard to merge R&B and electronica. This song definitely wins the award for saying “angel” the most in a three-minute time span, though.

“Down” ft. Gucci Mane is a really solid pop song. Once again, it’s a song that’s great to dance to. Gucci Mane’s lyrics add to the song and there’s a smooth give and take between him and the women throughout. The chorus is a couple of words repeated over and over and over again, but in my opinion, it’s not annoying until about the fifth time listening.

The underrated gem of this album is “Don’t Say You Love Me.” Eventually, the tempo speeds up, but there isn’t a huge rush to get to the chorus like there is in the rest of the album. The whole song is fun – not just when the beat drops. The vocals also stand out to complement, not compete, with the music.

“He Like That” is my favorite. It has a really catchy chorus with a little bit of reggae flair thrown in. The chorus, once again, repeats too much, and the lyrics are about as deep as a kiddie pool, but the beat is just so good that you might stick around.

This album is mostly underwhelming. As a band, Fifth Harmony is mostly underwhelming. Its entire look is built on sex and dance moves. When it performed at the VMAs, Fifth Harmony did its routine. Then Gucci Mane came on stage and walked in a circle, which I’m sure took hours of choreography to master. He was one man with a small army of half-clothed women dancing around him. How many times have we seen that before?

Not to pick only on Fifth Harmony – I’m sure we can all think of at least a couple artists whose best asset was their sex appeal. But I have always resented how much harder female artists have to work in order to receive the same attention as male artists.

As a woman, I’m a little tired of our bodies being the most important thing about us, and as a music fan I want a little bit more than a catchy chorus. I hope the women of Fifth Harmony get a chance to be more than beautiful girls who can dance. It’s not that they don’t have talent. The women of Fifth Harmony are given writing credit on half of this album. I just hope their style will keep changing, not just their outfits.

It makes you wonder: If the group’s members wore more clothes and less makeup and maybe spent more time writing than in dance rehearsal, would their success have been the same? Will the group’s music grow to be as beautiful as its members? Who knows – Fifth Harmony certainly has no interest in finding out.