I’ll be honest – ever since I heard of Fifth Harmony a few years ago, I have been confusing them with Little Mix. The two seem so interchangeable to me: both are girl-bands with a handful of gorgeous members, popular, upbeat songs, lyrics usually revolving around love and having fun. There wasn’t much to set them apart, even though I probably came across Little Mix’s tracks more often than those of Fifth Harmony. After listening to their latest, self-titled album… not much has changed. I might still confuse the two bands, but I definitely appreciate Fifth Harmony a little more than I initially did.
One of the very few distinctive features of Fifth Harmony for me has always been the unsubtly sensual approach they often took to their music. Some of their most popular tracks to date have been suggestive songs like Work From Home and Worth It. In this album, they definitely try to stick to the same path hoping for success, but compared to their previous hits, the songs are a let-down. As seen many times before, the most promoted track from this album is unfortunately one of the weakest ones: Down featuring Gucci Mane has a bland beat and is filled with slightly awkward lyrics like “You’re the type that I could bake for”. Similarly, while He Like That makes the girls’ individual voices shine out a little more than Down, it has numerous cringeworthy phrases like “rough neck swaggy” and “dope boy cash” which make me want to skip it during the second listen of the album. Sadly, in an album of ten tracks, the first five are so repetitive and monotonous rhythmically and melodically, that it makes Fifth Harmony look much weaker as artists than they really might be. Sauced Up, Make You Mad, and Deliver are all depressingly unmemorable, and sound like the same song rehashed.
However, things take a strong turn for the better in the latter half of the album. We find several songs which really show off the artists’ vocals, sound pleasantly different from each other, and even the lyrics seem to improve a little. Lonely Night, which describes a girl threatening to leave her lover if he isn’t faithful to her is probably one of the most standout tracks on the album, with an original-sounding melody and lyrics which hit the right combination of sassy and confident. Don’t Say You Love Me is also an enjoyable song, with almost Adele-like lyrics such as, “…don’t say you’re hurting without the scars / don’t promise me tonight without tomorrow too.” Fifth Harmony also really use their strengths as a vocal band in Lonely Night and Don’t Say You Love Me, more noticeably than in most of the other tracks on the album: there are several, but not an overpowering number of striking harmonies which make these tracks stand out, and show off the vocal range of the singers. The final track, Bridges, brings the album to a strong close. The lyrics, which are about world peace and loving everyone come together with an upbeat, feel-good melody to leave the listener on a happy, albeit pretty cheesy note.
Overall, though I’m not incredibly impressed by Fifth Harmony in this album, I can’t deny that they have talent. Putting the mediocre lyrics and repetitiveness of the beats aside, this album definitely emphasises upon the fact that all four remaining members of the band have powerful voices which can really sing: hence, the most fundamental essential of them being a good vocal pop band is in place. Now, if they only improved their song-writing skills and sung tracks with a little more variety, maybe I’d stop confusing them with Little Mix…