Fifth Harmony’s ‘Reflection’: Album Review
The five members of Fifth Harmony, ages 17 to 21, grew up when reality competition shows seemed like a viable path for stardom. Just when these shows seemed to have lost their edge, though, the X Factor girl group has emerged as a well-oiled machine, with its volcanic pop single “Sledgehammer” cracking the Top 40.
Following their 2013 Better Together EP and its full-throttle, Radio Disney-approved dance pop comes their debut album Reflection (out today, ), where Fifth Harmony reintroduces itself as a Destiny’s Child for the selfie generation. It’s filled with bold, ladies-only pop anthems, boasting an R&B/hip-hop edge: Lead single “Bo$$” is the fiercest of these, with its nod to a Baton Rouge rap hit woven into a pledge for independent women everywhere — the White House included. Stripped-down closer “We Know” interpolates DeBarge‘s oft-sampled “A Dream” to a thudding bass and as Fifth Harmony insists, “You won’t entice me with that big ol’ chain” – smart updates to a 1984 R&B classic.
Sometimes Reflection tries too hard to capture the zeitgeist, as it recalls sounds (a “Talk Dirty”-inspired sax melody), hashtags (#IWokeUpLikeThisToo) and Vine sensations (Lil TerRio) that have only just gotten stale. Still, its insistence on a #nofilter lifestyle doesn’t take away from how Fifth Harmony nails every song with absolute precision, as if its members had known each other for far longer than just three years since The X Factor. With Reflection, Fifth Harmony is bound to move on the next round in this pop game – like a No. 1 single, at the very least.
Idolator Score: 3.5/5
— Christina Lee