Next Time, Make a “Better” Album

Don’t try and tell me you’ve never been infatuated with a trashy reality TV show, because we all know that’s a lie. From the majestic “Jersey Shore” to the wondrous “Laguna Beach,” this genre of television has birthed a whole new generation of people who are famous for… well, being people, I guess.

Courtesy Of Epic Records

Courtesy of Epic Records

My personal favorite kind of reality TV show, however, is a performance or talent-based one: “American Idol,” “The Voice,” etc. That is how I came to be familiar with the girls of Fifth Harmony, who hail from the most recent season of “The X Factor.”  The group is made up of five girls and was formed by judge Simon Cowell, who determined the girls would go further as a group then as individual contestants.

Though Fifth Harmony finished third on the show, they received a lot of buzz during their run and still had potential for success; in fact, they’ve often been compared to One Direction, who also finished third on “The X Factor” and went on to become international superstars. The only way to seal the deal on this meteoric rise to fame was a good, strong first album.

“Better Together,” however, is not that album. Fifth Harmony’s debut release is overproduced, and has nothing dynamic or different happening. As much as I’d love to root for a girl group (as they’ve been so sparse in the past decade), it’s impossible to get behind an EP full of songs all vying for nothing more than a spot on the charts.

One fatal flaw of the album is the demographic it’s aiming for: while most of the group’s fans from “The X Factor” are in their mid-to-late teens, songs like ‘Me and My Girls’ seem to only be appealing for a much younger age group. By dumbing down their sound, the girls have effectively eliminated a good chunk of their audience.

The overproduction of the album, as a whole, makes it hard to distinguish one girl’s voice from another. As someone who’s familiar with the band, I still found myself forgetting that it was more than just one girl singing on any given song. The one true ballad on the EP, “Who Are You,” is the only song that breaks free from this unforgiving synth, and is therefore the most sincere track on the release, showcasing some of the ‘harmonies’ that the group is supposedly named for.

One thing I will give the girls positive credit for is the album’s first single, “Miss Movin’ On,” which is definitely a catchy tune, in addition to being the only upbeat song that seems to ring true to the ages of the girls singing it.  The sound of this song is decidedly similar to that of Danity Kane, one of the only American girl groups that have really made a splash in the last decade.

Overall, I was expecting better from the girls of Fifth Harmony. While their vocals are not the strongest individually, they showed a lot of growth as a group during their time on “The X Factor” and, as a result, the expectations for their first album rose. However, this is something the girls can come back from; after all, “Better Together” is only an EP. Maybe with the release of their full studio album, Fifth Harmony can become the powerhouse girl group we’ve all been waiting for.

 

NOT RECOMMENDED: With all the amazing pop albums that have come out in 2013 so far, “Better Together” is definitely one that can be skipped.