Fifth Harmony released their debut album Reflection in 2015, three years after rising to fame of The X Factor US. The album was a moderate success spawning hits singles in the shape of Bo$$, Sledgehammer and Worth It. Here in the UK the album debut in the Top 20 and Worth It gave the group their biggest hit landing at number 3. Ahead of the release of their second album 7/27, Fifth Harmony moved to the next level thanks to the huge success of Work From Home featuring Ty Dollar $ign, which has become their biggest hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
7/27, the date that the band was formed after the five members auditioned as solo artists on The X Factor US, arrived last Friday and it shows that the group has found their sound and their place in the music industry. Building on the pop and R&B fusion of Reflection, 7/27 is an album that showcases a group that has found their feet and is ready for world domination. If you were won over by the confident swagger of Work From Home, then you’ll find much to enjoy here as the album is a collection of feisty, mostly uptempo, tracks that are chart smashes in waiting.
The album kicks off with the empowerment anthem That’s My Girl, a horn and beat driven track that quickly tells you Fifth Harmony mean business. It’s a modern day call to arms for their fans about picking yourself up, taking charge of your independence and putting your best foot forward. Isn’t it refreshing to find a group of strong women singing about being empowered rather than overly sexualising themselves to sell music?
Across 7/27 Fifth Harmony explore a variety of sounds and allow each member to shine. There’s no real sense of a lead singer in the group with all of the girls taking on lead vocals throughout. From the aspirational career goals of The Life through to heartfelt ballad No Way, where the girls explore a seemingly toxic relationship that is in many ways a perfect fit, each song shows a different side to the group and their vocal abilities.
I Lied is a club track about understanding the true meaning of love, Fetty Wap features on the reggae-tinged All In My Head (Flex), and sparse beats back the midtempo and assuring Gonna Get Better. Scared of Happy finds the group singing about being close to happiness but feeling oddly fearful about making the step to achieve what they want. Fifth Harmony have clearly taken a leaf from the recent Little Mix album Get Weird on Not That Kinda Girl taking things back to the 80s and incorporating a rap from hip-hop legend Missy Elliott.
My favourite track on the record is the beautiful Write On Me. The track was released as a buzz track before the album arrived and Lauren Jauregui showcases some seriously impressive vocals on the lead up to the chorus. The harmonies in the chorus are perfection and Camila Cabello soars on the middle 8.
7/27 is the most perfect pop album I’ve heard in a long time. Rather than pandering to a trend, Fifth Harmony have crafted an album that is modern, packed with hits and really showcases their potential. It’s about time we had another huge girl group and if I had to put my money on it, I’d say it’s only a matter of time before Fifth Harmony become worldwide superstars. Reflection was a good album but 7/27 is the best album released by a pop group (male or female) in years. It’s also a definite contender for my pop album of the year.
Track Listing: 1. That’s My Girl 2. Work from Home feat. Ty Dolla $ign 3. The Life 4. Write On Me 5. I Lied 6. All In My Head (Flex) feat. Fetty Wap 7. Squeeze 8. Gonna Get Better 9. Scared of Happy 10. Not That Kinda Girl feat. Missy Elliott 11. Dope 12. No Way 13. Worth It (No Rap) Record Company: Syco Release Date: 27th May 2016