Fifth Harmony's third full-length album and first since the departure of vocalist Camila Cabello, 2017's Fifth Harmony is a sophisticated production that finds the former X-Factor contestants completing the transformation from a youthful pop outfit into a mature, adult contemporary R&B entity. It's a transformation the group already started on 2016's 7/27, and they're aided here by a bevy of producers including Skrillex, Poo Bear, Ammo, DallasK, the Monsters & Strangerz, and others. After the release 7/27, Cabello decided to go solo, leaving vocalists Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui, and Dinah Jane to figure out how to move forward. Rather than replace Cabello, they simply decided to be a four-piece. The result is an album that picks up on the slick, electronic vibe of 7/27 with a focus on songs for grown-ups and not the teens they initially appealed to. Certainly, it's a logical course of action -- teenagers grow up right alongside their idols, so it behooves any savvy pop act to try and reach that maturing audience. Here we get a batch of radio-ready cuts that touch upon such notions as female sexual empowerment ("Make You Mad"), cheating ("Lonely Night"), and the complexities of the female id ("Messy"). These songs fit nicely next to tracks by such similarly minded acts as Rihanna, Tinashe, and SZA. They also deliver a handful of sultry, passion-filled jams like the snappy "Down," featuring rapper Gucci Mane, the party anthem "Sauced Up," and the sensual, '90s-style R&B anthem "Deliver." Ultimately, Fifth Harmony make a pleasingly reliable, throwback style of R&B, drawing heavily upon the '90s vibe of acts like TLC, Toni Braxton, and En Vogue. One could easily imagine hearing these songs at a store and bopping along as you shop. ~ Matt Collar

  • Format: Vinyl
  • Genre: Rock