FIFTH HARMONY: The Album & The Rebirth

December 2016 could've signified the end for world renowned X Factor manufactured girl group, Fifth Harmony. After losing a member, not all bands are able to move forwards. However, fearless 5H powered on as a foursome and are back with their third studio album and, after listening to it, I doubt anyone has any worries about whether or not these girls can manage as a four piece.
Their latest release is self titled, which seems only right, as this record truly symbolises a fresh start for the band and almost a rebirth after years of not being in control of their music and not having as much creative freedom as they would have liked. Since Camila Cabello's departure, Lauren, Dinah, Ally and Normani seemed to have grown closer, not more distant. They seem even more dedicated to their art, willing to share their stories and excited about what they are producing.
As a Fifth Harmony fan for a number of years, I couldn't wait for a preview of their new sound. The first single from the album, titled Down, gave the world a teaser of the route the girls were heading down with their new stuff. The track gave many Work From Home vibes, their most successful track to date, therefore, they seemed to have found a style of music which works best for them and started following that path.
Down was a great initial single from Fifth Harmony and created great excitement and anticipation for their upcoming album. As soon as its release date was announced, the world had it preordered and was eager to hear what they were going to come out with.
Expectations were high, especially after their most successful year yet. 2016 saw the girls' second album, 7/27, fly up the charts as they toured the world performing to fans, picking up a few awards along the way. But would they cope as a four? Would they be able to create music which was just as catchy with vocals that were just as flawless? Would their album sound different now that a voice was missing? Would they crumble under the pressure to live up to the high standards set by themselves and the music industry? Well, if anything, I firmly believe that they have managed as a four and are now an even stronger force to be reckoned with. This album is physical proof that 1) hard work pays off, 2) women in music are so powerful and 3) when times get tough, you should get tougher - it'll be worth it. 

Admittedly, it would be difficult for me to slander anything churned out of the Fifth Harmony factory, however, this album has surpassed all of my preconceptions and smashed them to smithereens. It's a fun, feel good album with some of the best dance tracks on it, however, it's also more than that. Sure, at a first listen, it makes you want to boogie but, when you listen closely, you can really feel what went into this album. It sounds like more than just a pop record, it sounds like courage, tenacity, emotion, determination, love and friendship. In every note, you can hear the struggles these girls have faced as women in music under a controlling team. You can hear their determination to make something so amazing that it blows everything else they've ever done out of the water. You can hear their support for one another as they uplifted each other through stressful times. You can also hear their love for music and commitment to their professions. Generally, his album will surely fill anyone with positivity and empowerment. Sure, it has it's rough patches, such as the tear-jerking ballad Don't Say You Love Me, but, as a whole, this album is fun, it's flirty, it's fierce. It has it's heartfelt songs but also it's seductive songs. Fifth Harmony are repeatedly criticised for being so openly sexual and for having the confidence to sing about sensual experiences whilst performing provocative choreography. But, despite the slut shaming, it's refreshing to see they haven't changed but, instead, are evolving. They are young women growing up in a slut shaming world but they are using their sexuality as a tool to inspire those who follow them. The more mature songs on this album fill me with the body confidence that they evidently feel and they empower me as a woman. They remind me that I am in control of my own body and nobody else has the right to silence my love for it. Their openly sexual nature is something I revere as it reminds me that feeling good about myself is acceptable and their provocative songs are a middle finger to those who critique them for being "too sexy" because, quite frankly, they don't care.

Allow me to discuss each track individually as each one deserves to have a light of appreciation shone upon it. This album is Fifth Harmony at their best. They've made a pop record but the sound is unique and fresh. They've matured into the artists they have been longing to be. They're in control, they're co-writing, they're setting their own boundaries and they're back with a killer album they ought to be proud of as every faultless lyric and note is testament to their undeniable talent.

1) Down (feat. Gucci Mane)
Favourite lyric: FBI interrogation, I would get up there and lie for you
If the song was a colour it would be: turquoise
How the song makes me feel: chilled

Down, the symbolic first single from the album and the song which got everyone yearning for more of FOURTH Harmony. It's Work From Home sound makes it the perfect song to jam to throughout Summer and also shows how the girls seem to have found their sound. It sets the tone for the rest of the album perfectly. It's a fun track about sharing a loving, trusting relationship with someone and a great way of symbolising the unity between the band.

2) He Like That
Favourite lyric: I know he bad for my health, but I still wanna try it
If the song was a colour it would be: burgundy
How the song makes me feel: in control
He Like That is the second single from the album. It's a sexy banger and isn't to be taken too seriously. This song is further proof that Fifth Harmony know how to make a catchy chorus because I certainly had the "He like that bang bang bang, he like that bomb bomb bomb" stuck in my head for hours after the first listen. Its sultry sound is empowering and the song is so strong it could potentially be one of the best on the album. It's a dream for radio, for sure, and is certain to soar up the charts.

3) Sauced Up
Favourite lyric: Don't you know I'm fluent in the bro-code?
If the song was a colour it would be: lime green
How the song makes me feel: ready to party
Two seconds into this song and I felt as though I had ascended into musical Heaven. The a cappella harmonies at the start hooked me instantly. Sauced Up is the song that makes you want to dance as soon as it starts playing. It has a killer beat and a similar sound to Party by Beyonce, actually.

4) Make You Mad
Favourite lyric: I'm gonna make sure I'm the best you ever had
If the song was a colour it would be: bright red
How the song makes me feel: pumped!
Make You Mad is an infectious jam. The verses are brilliantly written and the slick beat drop in the chorus is super fresh and promises electrifying choreography when the song is performed live. This is the kind of song which often gets overlooked on an album but this record wouldn't be complete without it.

5) Deliver
Favourite lyric: On your doorstep like UPS, won't send it back
If the song was a colour it would be: baby blue
How the song makes me feel: sassy
Deliver is a smooth pop track, perfect for busting some moves to whilst driving with the roof down. The sound is much more mature compared to some of the girls' earlier releases but it fits so well with their image and is a great representation of how much they've evolved both personally and musically over the years. This song gives off definite 90s Mariah Carey vibes and is undoubtedly going to be a universal favourite from the album.

6) Lonely Night
Favourite lyric: I got 20/20 vision and that's the reason I'mma keep my distance
If the song were a colour it would be: hot pink
How the song makes me feel: ready for a roadtrip
I've never heard a song like this before. Creatively, it has so much going on and has so many different elements to it but, altogether, it works really well. The way the verses transition into the bridge then the bridge transitions into the chorus is really exciting. The girls' vocals are also particularly exciting and, lyrically, it's giving a guy a breakdown of all the things you need from him in order for a relationship to work, inevitably, making it a relatable song for many.

7) Don't Say You Love Me
Favourite lyric: don't say you miss me when you don't call
If the song was a colour it would be: deep blue
How the song makes me feel: as though I need to curl up into a ball and cry
The band bare their souls in this mid-tempo, heart wrenching track as they sing about a broken, standstill relationship. It's a song which you can really lose yourself in as you blast it through your earphones and throw yourself around the room, letting the beat control your movements. It's a timeless classic which hits you right where it hurts and forces you to think about things which you may not want to think about. Don't Say You Love Me is one of my favourites on this album. It's the perfect song to play in a movie montage.

8) Angel
Favourite lyric: Open your eyes, I'm more brilliant than you'll ever be
If the song was a colour it would be: black
How the song makes me feel: badass
Angel - the second promotional single from the album and, in my opinion, this is Fifth Harmony at their very best. I remember playing it on a loop for days, something I won't just do with any song and something which I haven't done with a 5H song for a while. It shows a whole other side to the girls and what they're capable of. Their fierce attitudes really shine through in this haunting, dark song which ventures into hip hop territory. Angel goes hard. It's intense. It's extremely exciting.

9) Messy
Favourite lyric: I am who I am and you won't have to wonder
If the song was a colour it would be: yellow
How the song makes me feel: imperfectly perfect
This song transforms Fifth Harmony from sounding strong and in control as they do throughout most songs thus far into, actually, being rather vulnerable. They lay everything out on the table in a "this is me, this is who I am" type way through the lyrics, making it relatable. They admit to being "messy" and imperfect which will surely make it a song which touches listeners. It's a beautiful slow jam.

10) Bridges
Favourite lyric: I believe every woman is a fighter and I believe every man can stand beside her
If the song was a colour it would be: rainbow
How the song makes me feel: inspired
Last but not least, we have Bridges, which is my favourite song on the album. I'm a sucker for an emotional song. Write a song with a deep meaning and I'm all over it like a rash. Bridges is the song the world needs right now in such troublesome times and it's great to hear artists referencing the world's problems in their music. It subtly addresses Donald Trump's desire to build a wall with the lyric "bridges, not walls" and sends out a positive message which fills me with such purpose. It's a real life affirming song which reinforces the need for unity, love and resistance against hatred in the world. The message is stunning and it's the perfect song to close the album with as it inspires listeners to go out into the world spreading optimism and offering support.

Fifth Harmony by Fifth Harmony is one of the most exciting albums of 2017 and is a sassy hair flip in the faces of all those who said they would flop as a foursome. It's funky, it's fresh, it's impeccably written and the production is sick, as I guess the cool kids of today would say. To reiterate, it really is the band at their very best. They're in control and they're owning it. Fifth Harmony are being authentically themselves, making the music needed to spice up the industry and I can't wait to see what happens next.

What are your favourite songs from the new 5H album?

Love, Emily :) xx

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