Looking for something new, so I checked out the New Releases on Spotify. Which is why I was listening to Reflection, the debut studio album by Fifth Harmony.
I read some reviews of the album, for context if nothing else, since Fifth Harmony are outside of my normal listening patterns. What I found were generally positive sentiments that nonetheless sounded less than positive from my perspective. The All Music Guide review refers to the group as “The X-Factor's second season third-place finishers”, which isn’t exactly bursting with confidence. Later, critic Matt Collar writes, “Although essentially a radio-ready pop aperitif and nowhere near the cultural touchstone of Beyonce's [self-titled 2013] album, Reflection nonetheless works as a Revlon ad-level post-feminist girls' night out”.
Spin’s Brennan Carley gave it 7/10, and Carley was more positive: “one of the most forward-thinking, sheerly enthusiastic pop releases in years”.
So, did I like it? It was bright, probably uplifting if I’d paid attention to the lyrics. (Lyrics don’t usually have an impact on me until I’ve had several listens. Having said that, Maria Sherman’s “Top 10 Fiercely Feminist Lyrics On Fifth Harmony's 'Reflection'” suggests there is something going on here. The harmonies are good, and for the most part they don’t engage in too much over-singing. They sound like they have a lot of influences, which is a nice way of saying there’s not much new in their sound, to my ears. I don’t hear anything as good as “Wannabe”, but that may be unfairly raising the bar too high.
Here is “BO$$”, which as I type this has gotten more than 41 million YouTube views:
And, because I can never get enough Girl Power, here’s the classic “Wannabe” video (which as of this post has more than 86 million YouTube views):