Urban Contemporary, 2015
There is a hilarious lack of self-awareness among fans of Fifth Harmony who are engaged in a war of attrition with fans of Little Mix. Does it matter which is better, given that both girl groups were created by the same people from the same template? Reflection, Fifth Harmony’s debut album (they released an EP a while a back, if I remembered correctly), contains a collection of tracks that are – surprise – barely distinguishable from Little Mix’s repertoire. That’s a damn shame, as I could always use more girl groups to cheer for.
Not that this album is dire, far from it. Tracks like Sledgehammer and Worth It are pure pop confection – it is hard to find fault in the production values and the vocals, as the end results are great ear candies. There are the usual superficially done female empowerment messages, such as BO$$ name dropping Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey in an insulting context of female empowerment being equated to how much money these ladies are making, but then again, Destiny’s Child did that too ages ago, and no one was complaining much back then. We don’t expect our pop tarts to be smart, after all.
My favorite tracks are… well, I suppose it is This Is How We Roll, with its feel-good summer-is-here vibes, and Like Mariah, a very infectious self-referential track which owes much of its fabulousness to its blatant reusing, oops, I mean sampling of the hooks and “Do do do, do do do do do dum!” bits from Mariah Carey’s Always be My Baby. But really, though, there is nothing objectionable in this album – Reflection wants to be a fun pop album, and it sure succeeds in doing so.
It’s just sad that they are set up to be Little Mix clones, and their longevity most likely depends on the other girl group breaking up first. But I guess that’s what happens when little girls trust their career direction and money to fat lecherous men that run reality TV shows to find the next best flash-in-the-pan pop acts.