Fifth Harmony
Reflection


3.0
good

Review

by SPRFanOf5H USER (93 Reviews)
February 1st, 2015 | 38 replies


Release Date: 02/01/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album three years in the making is finally here.

The wait is finally over, and man was it a long one. American girl-group Fifth Harmony, the act that has stood out undoubtedly from the rest on the now-defunct X-Factor USA, has finally released their debut album Reflection after its original release date of November 2014 was pushed back five times. With their solid debut mainstream release with their 2013 EP Better Together, it created the numerous hype and anticipation for Reflection: along with the release of two hit singles in "Bo$$" and 5H's first Top-40 hit in the '80s pop-influenced "Sledgehammer". To the immense delight of Harmonizers, it is finally here. With its numerous delays finally out of the way, was it really worth the year-plus wait for their debut studio album" It was worth it, but it also wasn't in a way too.

During the creation of Reflection, the group consisting of members Lauren Jauregui, Dinah Jane Hansen, Ally Brooke-Hernandez, Normani Kordei, and Camila Cabello discussed to numerous media outlets that they were aiming for a more 'mature, urban' sound than the bubble-gum pop that was on Better Together. It certainly is evident in the album, with songs like the R&B-oriented ballad "We Know" with its somber, romantic-like piano melody showcasing how far the girls have come in terms of maturity and breaking away from the generic 'teen-pop' stereotype that looked to be the case in the beginning. Their vocals shine undoubtedly with the solid beats in Reflection, being displayed in its best on songs like the EDM-pop anthem "This Is How We Roll" and the bonus track "Going Nowhere" with their sass, distinction and chemistry. This album is certainly built for the summer, with its summer vibes prominent in most of the music. Each member of the group bring in their own unique voice and style to the table on Reflection, making the tracks refreshing and enjoyable to listen to. They definitely sound like they're having fun with their strong bond between the five, and that couldn't be more vital to a success for any group/band that is in the industry today. When the girls unify as one on the hooks of their material on Reflection, its certainly one to behold because of just how strong and powerful they are vocally.

With that said, while Reflection does succeed with the group's stellar vocals and the solid beats: it does have some glaring issues to take note to. The major issue that deals some pretty prevalent blows to Reflection is the production. It's not the matter of the beats because they're pretty solid, aside from a couple repetitive tracks like the social media-oriented "Them Girls Be Like" or the girl-empowerment anthem "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" featuring Meghan Trainor that feel more like 'album filler' than actually fitting the premise of the album. The lyricism in both tracks also are pretty corny and therefore annoying, with a prime example in the hook of the Meghan Trainor-featured track with Camila name-dropping female artists who have been influential to women. The major issue that hurts the debut album is in the mixing, because man is it bad. It's nothing short of amateurish and disappointing especially for such a major release. It's either that the vocals were badly Auto-Tuned (the Mariah Carey-sampled "Like Mariah"), so obvious it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know it is, the girls' vocals are a bit too quiet (i.e "Going Nowhere" in the build-up to the hook) or that the girls' vocals overpower the beat (i.e "Brave, Honest, Beautiful"). It's not the case in a few tracks, but it's unfortunately limited here. It ends up creating this sort of inconsistency that you shouldn't see on any kind of album, especially on the mixing/engineering side. It doesn't end there however.

Reflection featured a limited selection of collaborations, with three mainstream artists supporting 5H in three of the fourteen tracks on the album. Two of the more surprising collaborations came from rappers who are considered to be quite relevant in the rap game today, Southern rapper Tyga and rising rapper Kid Ink. Not surprisingly, all three features fell short of expectations. The greatest injustice of them all is in the Tyga-featured "Like Mariah", with Tyga trying to cleanly rap in his sole verse. After hearing that disaster of a verse, it merely solidifies that the friend of Chris Brown cannot rap at all without the need of explicit lyrics in abundance, the only reason why Tyga is even relevant in the first place. Meghan Trainor and up-and-coming rapper Kid Ink's features weren't as impressive either, making these collaborations un-needed for this group and that they're much better off without it.

Reflection is certainly better than Fifth Harmony's last outing, they've definitely grown up and it shows both in their sound and vocals. Songs like the Ashanti-influenced "Everlasting Love" display just good the girl group can be, with strong chemistry and distinction. It's definitely a fun record to listen to. However, the album is highly barred by the less-than-impressive guest collabos, some of the worst production in terms of mixing I've heard in a record in quite some time, and a few tracks that feel like 'album fodder' rather than truly fitting in on Reflection. It's such a shame considering how Reflection was produced by multi-platinum producer Julian Brunetta, because you shouldn't expect this, especially at such a professional level like Brunetta is in. That alone is why Reflection doesn't overstep their debut EP, because these flaws were pretty significantly bad enough to degrade this album. With these flaws aside, the former X-Factor USA act certainly has a bright future in the industry. There is no doubt about that. However, they gotta ditch guest features for the future, avoid putting out un-needed tracks, and get better producers to mix: only then will their future material go to the next level.



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user ratings (49)
Chart.
2.5
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
SPRFanOf5H
February 1st 2015


828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's a bit longer I do agree everyone, but this was done purposely because I felt like it needed to be the case. With that said, I WASN'T BIASED AT ALL during this review FYI. I was frankly disappointed that I gave it this rating, but it deserved it nonetheless. Just because I'm a fan of these girls doesn't mean squat when I review them. That's all put aside, since I have to be unbiased during my reviews.



LMK your thoughts on this and feedback and criticism is much appreciated folks. Hit me up with whatever you got, hate or otherwise.

Artuma
February 1st 2015


29122 Comments


you're a really good writer, it's a shame no one gives a fuck about the albums you review

SPRFanOf5H
February 1st 2015


828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Artuma: Haha I know right? Last three have been the case comment-wise and voting-wise. I don't mind it tho, I honestly wanted to write this and I don't care if ppl here hate it or not. At least it isn't some biased review like for a Bieber album or something, I was really close to giving this a 2.5 actually. The beats tho for the most part as well as the songs were pretty solid that it got a 3, its just the horrific mixing, some of these filler tracks and the lame collaborations that hurt this one. Just because I'm a huge fan of them, which I do admit, it doesn't mean anything when I write this review. I'll rip if its needed, it just doesn't matter.



I'm gonna be writing more hip-hop during the month, not so much Top 40/Pop material. Gonna do a piece on Joey Bada$$' B4.DA.A$$, Lupe's Tetsuo & Youth and Logic's debut Def Jam release Under Pressure in the month ahead. Might even do a piece on jazz artist Kenny G's new release Brazilian Nights too. It sucks how horribly biased ppl are here towards pop, I've been writing a ton of them to counter that and because this site needs it. Gonna also apply for contributor too if the site is gonna do it.

gryndstone
February 3rd 2015


849 Comments


IF U COULD TAKE MY PULSE RIGHT IT WOULD FEEL JUST LIKE A SLEDGEHAMMER

SPRFanOf5H
February 3rd 2015


828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

you know it lol

treeqt.
February 5th 2015


16894 Comments


aoty at this point honestly

treeqt.
February 5th 2015


16894 Comments


ya definitely the best thing i heard of the 2015 releases
straight bangers everywhere

SPRFanOf5H
February 6th 2015


828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@treeqt: You're kidding right? I mean that's pretty surprising honestly, I liked the album too alot but I couldn't give this a 3.5 or even higher. Any favorite tracks so far from Reflection?

treeqt.
February 6th 2015


16894 Comments


Top Down / Reflection

Cygnatti
February 8th 2015


32009 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this isn't bad but i just can't get down with it

SPRFanOf5H
February 9th 2015


828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@treeqt.: I definitely agree with the title track, it's not over-produced or anything like that, and the vocals are on-point. Definitely the shining moment in it is when the girls unite for the hook vocally, it is one to behold. Unfortunately you don't see much of that in the album, most of these hooks on the 14-track LP are Camila-oriented. That is also a big issue that has to be addressed in which I should've stated in the review, its like what you're seeing with 1D and all these other groups. It has to be diversified amongst the five, otherwise you're gonna get another *NSYNC: a group who had unlimited potential but was too centered on one specific person. I dig "This Is How We Roll" minus the lame-ass bass drop, "Going Nowhere" and especially "Everlasting Love" off the album minus the three singles that dropped prior to the release.



@Cygnatti: Just out of curiosity, what turned you off specifically in this album? Same issues as I discussed, or something different? I'm honestly surprised at how well-received this album is right now getting, Rolling Stone gave it a 3.5/5 and Billboard lauded this so that's pretty shocking. I think it is overstepping it a little bit though, its a great album but I wouldn't propel it to such great heights like what I've seen so far from other critics and publications.

Cygnatti
February 9th 2015


32009 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the lyrics generally didn't bother me, the repetition usually isn't bad (except particularly in Bo$$). the

vocal performances are fairly generic but usually enjoyable, same goes with the psudeorapping bits. this

album actually has quite a bit going for it.



i'm just not a fan of this kind of well-polished dancey+r&b tinged pop. the production is off-putting (not

surprising in the slightest).



other than that some songs i just find annoying (dug top down the first time, but not the next times :/).

some of the hooks aren't very good (like mariah, fuck that) and none of the featured guests were enjoyable

(didn't mind meghan trainor but i'm pretty sure track 14 is a bonus track tho?). but t/t song is probably

my favorite. : )



of course i have a soft spot for these guys bc they apparently love awful television like i do ^.^

SPRFanOf5H
February 9th 2015


828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Cyngatti: Haha and was it awful. The repetition in Bo$$ is pretty pathetic honestly, and the lyrical content was garbage in it too. "Like Mariah" has been getting a ton of praise recently, but I can't understand it. It isn't that great, and Tyga's verse as I stated in the review is a complete disaster. This technically was an album directed towards women empowerment, which it seems to convey alright.



If the production was more polished and the features weren't on the album, I'd give it a 4/5 most likely. Still surprised at how well-received this LP is getting right now, I expected honestly mediocre to decent reception at best. And yeah the final deluxe track was a bonus, I personally despised the hook and the Trainor feature sucked but that was it.

Cygnatti
July 8th 2015


32009 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bmup'd this is sweet shit

treeqt.
July 8th 2015


16894 Comments


it's worth it xD

Cygnatti
July 8th 2015


32009 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i get hype'd every time that plays on the radio man

treeqt.
July 8th 2015


16894 Comments


yeah great song

SPRFanOf5H
July 8th 2015


828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its a good song but Kid Ink's spot isn't that great as I did state in the review. Apparently this was supposed to be his song before Fifth Harmony got fronted as the main artists.

Cygnatti
July 8th 2015


32009 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

agreed his spot is completely negligible and lasts for like 10 seconds

treeqt.
July 8th 2015


16894 Comments


BRING IT BACK LIKE SHE LEFT SOMETHIN

BRING IT BRING IT BACK LIKE SHE LEFT SOMETHIN



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