Fifth Harmony’s sophomore studio album 7/27 is one of the most anticipated releases of the year and with reason. The all-girl band, including Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui, Camila Cabello and Dinah Jane, has fully matured into a full-blown pop sensation backed up by big-time producers and collaborators. 7/27, named after the date the band was officially formed, firmly solidifies the girls’ pop star status with massive hooks, vibrancy and of course harmony, yet it fails to offer anything beyond perfectly executed mainstream pop music even when they notably slow the tempo and open up in their lyrics.

‘7/27’ by Fifth Harmony – Album Review

Opener “That’s My Girl” start off with banging beats backed up by horns that you can easily strut to on your morning commute. It kicks things off with its great energy, but it’s otherwise unimpressive. Moving into the record’s lead single, the omnipresent hit “Work From Home,” featuring Tyga Dolla $ign, the album slows things down, showcasing the ladies’ vocals on top of minimal tropical beats. Fifth Harmony are in their most sensual and naughty mode ever with the coy lyrics asking their lover not to leave for work and instead, as they euphemistically put it, to “work from home.” The guest rap adds just the right amount of flavor and variety before the girls flawless harmonize the track to completion.

The notably acoustic spin on “Write On Me” shows a new dimension to the girl band’s musical style. The track still carries on with the subtle tropical beats trend, which flourishes as the song progresses – an unsurprising feat considering the song was co-produced by one of the big names in tropical EDM Kygo. A similar formula works successfully later when “Gonna Get Better” opens with a romantic guitar intro before moving into the vaguely reggaeton-inspired beats. The mid-tempo rhythm and the romantic undertones in the lyrics of these two songs show a more introspective side to the pop band, which feels refreshing in the midst of their banging power hits.

Ultimately, the girls’ confident attitude is what makes this album sound like the work of mature artists who have found their artistic voices and asserted their ground. “Not That Kinda Girl,” an amazingly good, glossy collaboration with another great female artist Missy Elliott, is a rich 80s-inspired pop jam with R&B and hip-hop element. A powerful medley of sounds and vocals, it is one of the most fierce, feminist-oriented tracks on 7/27.

Closer “No Way” once again slows things down to a well-polished R&B tune for what sounds like the most lyrical and personal track on the album. With confessional undertones, the album finishes on a rather brooding  note about imperfection and love – a surprising subject for their pop stardom. This perhaps is some indication of Fifth Harmony’s future potential, but for the time being it can’t help but feel like a stint to keep up with the trend of the love-torn, sad music acts of the twenty-somethings.

7/27 showcases Fifth Harmony’s growing confidence. The ladies seem to have found the right formula for making pop hits even as they explore a softer and slower side to their musical creativity. Their music sounds balanced and even sophisticated with hints of feminist undertones and self-awareness. Nevertheless, on 7/27 the girls from Fifth Harmony are still as fierce as they are vulnerable.

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