Slick vocals, catchy tunes, a more mature sound and empowering lyrics dominate the first full-length studio album from Fifth Harmony, a five-person girl group that gained fame from the reality-television show “The X Factor.” The album, “Reflection,” was released Jan. 30.
Fifth Harmony’s sound has matured significantly since the first EP the group released in 2013, titled “Better Together,” as it is clear the girls are inclining toward rhythm and blues and hip-hop as opposed to bubblegum pop. However, the songs remain fun and youthful, and nearly every track on the album is full of positivity and female empowerment.
The first single off the album, “BO$$,” is a fierce contender for one of the best girl-power anthems in recent history. The song proclaims that girls don’t need a man to be successful with lyrics like, “working for my money, ’cause that’s what my momma taught me, so yo ass better show me some respect.” In addition, the song references the eminently powerful and independent female figures Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
Like “BO$$,” many of the songs use pop-culture references to promote female independence and self-confidence, such as “Them Girls Be Like,” “Brave Honest Beautiful” and notably the track “Like Mariah,” which references the singer Mariah Carey and even samples the melody from her song “Always Be My Baby.”
The track “Worth It,” which features Kid Ink, has the most musically unique sound on the album. It’s a jazzy, hip hop–inspired tune with saxophone riffs in the chorus and strong bass throughout.
The record also displays the vocal prowess of Fifth Harmony, both as individuals and as a group. Most of the tracks feature the girls individually mastering strong belts and complicated riffs, and singing impressive harmonies as a group.
As a whole, “Reflection” is a commendable first full record from Fifth Harmony, and if the group continues to grow in this manner, it is certain to have even bigger and better things to come.