Review Summary: Every song is exactly the same.
Bebe Rexha is an American singer known for her frequent collaborations with producers and songs that she has written for other artists, however, her new album, Expectations
, is her first outing into a solo studio album. The first thing about Expectations
that aroused my curiosity was the almost complete lack of features, a total of 3 on a 14 track album seemed a bit sparse for an artist who had almost exclusively succeeded on being a feature on other songs. While this experimentation is commendable, listening to the album quickly shows why Rexha's strengths are being a feature and not the main event. Expectations
suffers from a fatal lack of musical variety, and Rexha's sound becomes obnoxious repeated fourteen times in a forty minute time span.
Almost all pop is formulaic nowadays, but I don't think that's avoidable. There's always going to be a framework where good or catchy music is going to be able to made in a streamlined and cheap way, but as long as that framework does not constrain the music, it can be okay. On Expectations
, this framework seems to become oppressive. A couple tracks are able to avoid sounding exactly the same, but the formula Rexha employs becomes terribly repetitive. There's always a melodic piano or synth in the background and the same simplistic drums you've come to expect, only rarely deviating from kick, snare, kick, crash, but this is barely a problem compared to the omnipresence of Rexha's voice. I hadn't found it particularly impressive in the first place, but it becomes even worse over the course of forty minutes, where her singing doesn't really change apart from the adding and removal of autotune. When autotune is added, it's almost always an absurd amount that ruins the song.
Now, you would think the tracks with features on them would perhaps be less predictable or at least higher quality than the other tracks on the album, but they manage to be around the same. Florida Georgia Line
, whose discography is not particularly impressive in the first place, adds a deep twangy voice onto Rexha's piano-pop song in the hit single of the album, which just manages to be disorienting. The collaboration doesn't borrow anything from Florida Georgia Line at all other than vocals, and so it just manages to sounds strange hearing an obvious country singer belt out over what's in actuality a piano with trap-flavored hi-hats and generic kicks, and it comes out as muddled as it sounds.
I don't hate this woman. I just hate this album. I hate that I spent forty minutes listening to this and don't have a single good thing to say about it other than "I was able to make it through the whole album". It's just boring, and not worth your time, and barely worth the time i put into this review. It's not the type of bad that's funny, it's just the type of bad that's a waste of time, and so much a waste of time that it is infuriating. There's no track that can be pointed at and used to demonstrate why this album is bad, because it's a lot easier to digest a four minute track and understand its mediocrity than to listen to a forty minute album that's full of these tracks. Imagine your quintessential 2.5, a completely average album, and then take the filler tracks off of that and make an entire album where every track is like that. There's Expectations
. If this point is starting to seem repetitive, at least it didn't take forty minutes to listen to.