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In a world dominated by Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, to name a few, female domination is the name of the game when it comes to girl groups and Fifth Harmony's debut album Reflection shows that impressively.
Despite the rather poor opening song, Top Down, which seemed too typical and confusing me into thinking it was called 'Electric City', there are many songs about female empowerment backed up by hip-hop beats and the raw flare of this group.
BO$$ is a great example of a girl power song with the repeated mentions of Michelle Obama and the Kim K references. Sledgehammer sounds like the average pop single until that 2nd half of the chorus dances straight into your ears.
The American girl group sampled Mariah Carey's Always Be My Baby and incorporated it into a modern upbeat track with Tyga - proving that they can sing Like Mariah. The track which also includes a call-out to Mariah's #1 single Touch My Body received a stamp of approval from Mimi herself.
All the modern pop culture references in many of their songs here, such as the attitude-filled Reflection, complete this really mature album from Fifth Harmony. The album is a true reflection of their maturity from finishing 3rd in The X Factor. Pun intended. You go, girls.
Track Cuts: BO$$, Them Girls Be Like, Like Mariah
Even if you don't like Fall Out Boy, you STILL listen to Fall Out Boy.
FOB returns once again with the motivational-themed American Beauty/American Psycho that is heart-pumping enough to be your new workout playlist.
The trumpet-fanfare of Irresistible excites you with sick drops and sudden blasts in the chorus, making it a strong entrance track. AB/AP (song) is a rare FOB dance track that sounds like a crazy mix of 60's and today's pop.
Probably everyone knows the anthemic Centuries. I mean you hear it everywhere in public and it's definitely one to add to your get-psyched mix/playlist. The underrated The Kids Aren't Alright is well-paced with just a hint of that old-school emo. It's one of AB/AP's slower songs along with Jet Pack Blues.
Uma Thurman is the most alien track on the album. That eerie 60's theme show guitar riff somehow fits fantastically with the loud lyrics and rock beat. Heavier tracks of Novocaine and Fourth Of July sound so much alike each other with some traits from The Phoenix.
Favorite Record is that nostalgic song that you can relate to and seemed the perfect track to end the album. It's definitely a 'song stuck in my head'. Immortals is pretty much Centuries, Part II, until the chorus kicks in with a bang and such a haunting melody. Twin Skeletons however ends off AB/AP and despite sounding like most of the tracks here, it stands out in its witty lyrics.
AB/AP is a real stranger to the typical Fall Out Boy material but still it finds its way to the likings of many people. Even if you're not an FOB fan.
Track Cuts: The Kids Aren't Alright, Uma Thurman, Favorite Record, Immortals
Nicki Minaj dives into her hip-hop roots in her latest album, The Pinkprint, which she hopes will live on to be the (pink) blueprint for female rappers.
She has gone for a more raw sound of rap and hip-hop and it's definitely a mature growth from her earlier dance pop tracks. The heavy opening track, All Things Go is a haunting autobiographical account of Nicki's past experiences such as the death of her own cousin and even a referenced abortion. What a eye-catching way to start the album.
Besides the infamous Anaconda which does not need any more discussing here, Nicki actually impressed with other tracks like lo-fi-ish Four Door Aventador and Want Some More which showed her egoistic alter ego, stating her 'only competition' then were Eminem, Kanye and Lil Wayne.
There were a number of hip-hop ballads in the album's tracklist that showed Nicki's lighter side such as the unsung The Crying Game which featured brilliantly soft vocals from British musician Jessie Ware. Altogether, The Pinkprint is a more honest display of Nicki's persona, translated into radio-friendly raps that connect her more to fans and listeners alike.
Track Cuts: All Things Go, Pills n Potions, Four Door Aventador
Demi Lovato just won't let 2014 go on to the next musical year just yet (Frozen pun intended).
The Heart Attack singer looks to remind everyone that she is still one of the best before the year ends with her re-release of her self-titled fourth album, Demi, which has many new refreshing tracks that sets it apart from the original record.
This deluxe version of her successful album includes her Target bonus track, I Hate You Don't Leave Me as well as the unreleased Up which features Olly Murs. Frozen fans, her version of the Disney movie's hit song Let It Go is also on the deluxe with her amazing live rendition of Ed Sheeran's Give Me Love and live versions of Nightingale, Neon Lights and Really Don't Care.
P.S. The Demi (Deluxe) also comes with a personal exclusive message from Demi to all the Lovatics out there.
Track Cuts: Heart Attack, Give Me Love (Cover), Made In The U.S.A.
Dropping their latest album, English Pop Rock McBusted (combination of McFly and Busted) gives us an edgy feel towards broken relations and hitches faced while growing up. Despite their differences as two separate bands, McBusted is still stained with harmony, strong personality and remarkable vocal layering.
The first half of the album is heavier in terms of crisp thumping drum beats and snaking guitar licks. The album opens with Air Guitar which reflects the phase of most teenagers when they are not part of the ‘Cool Kids’ social circle… uninvited kids to happening parties hence the only way to feel powerful is by imagining to be a Rockstar! Playing an air guitar and head banging to experience that one minute of fame. Close my eyes and see the crowd/ In my head I am a Rockstar.
Known for their acoustic elements, a hint of ‘McFly’ is being infused with Beautiful Girls Are The Loneliest which juxtaposes the views behold upon them. Everyone thinks that beautiful girls have a flock of suitors after them. However in relativity, the guys are lacking the courage to approach these beautiful girls as they perceive they are not good enough.
Tracks such as In Da Club and Back In Time summarize the wild and frolicking days which the boys had while passing that adolescence stage. It is definitely a different take as compared to the individual albums of McFly or Busted... but hey at least they tried to explore more options.
Perhaps for their next album a matured approach towards love could be undertaken instead of the high school slant of summer flings or teenage struggles.
Track Cuts: Air Guitar, Gone and Sensitive Guy
Photo Credits: Island Records