ALBUM REVIEW: Rita Ora – Phoenix

As the chorus of the final track soars with it’s reflective and honest confession, Rita Ora closes this chapter of her musical journey with an insight into her growth and understanding. “I’m a soul survivor, I made it through the fire. I started with nothing, I’ve got nothing to lose”. Her long awaited sophomore studio album was scheduled for release in 2014 and with a whole lot of public set-backs with label and producer issues, it was always questioned if we would ever hear a final product. Now signed to Atlantic Records, ‘Phoenix’ is a cathartic and refreshing collection of tracks that takes you on a journey through up beat pop anthems to raw and honest moments that explore her deep emotions. It acts as a great representation to the experiences she’s been through whilst also shaping some of the negative ones with a positive outlook and polish. Opening with the lovesick pop banger ‘Anywhere’ she gives you a slick tropical pop beat that drops this early 2000’s inspired gay club ready breakdown, which is oh so great. Following it up with the polished and easy listening single ‘Let Me Love You’ she showcases her songwriting strengths with a chorus that has been all over radio. But it’s the first new track ‘New Look’ which will stop you in your tracks with it’s sassy and honest delivery about an unfaithful partner. “What are you gonna do when the sun goes down, who are you gonna love when I’m not around?”. This is the shortest song on the record at only 2 min and 34 seconds long and you will find yourself wanting and needing more that you will immediately press replay. Her previously released singles ‘Your Song’, ‘Lonely Together’, ‘For You’ and the unnecessarily controversial ‘Girls’ offer a light pop production that breezes through some big singalongs. Following their lead ‘First Time High’, ‘Summer Love’ and ‘Hell Of A Life’ offer some easy listening and instant favourite moments that will be great additions to her live set. But where Rita really shines on this album is in her more sedued and emotional moments. ‘Only Want You’ steps it back to a similar slow RNB jam production to ‘Body On Me’ and instead of being seductive she breaks down her barriers and tells an ex lover how she really feels. “I don’t want somebody like you, I only want you, I only want you”. It’s one of the albums most direct and relatable tracks as she doesn’t really hold back or hide behind metaphors. From there the album shifts to the RNB and jazz influenced ballads ‘Velvet Rope’ and ‘Cashmere’ before the electronic ballad ‘Falling To Pieces’ ties together all of the experimentation. It’s in these tracks that her vocals really shine. She doesn’t shift too far from her pop and RNB roots but she does explore different production styles to give listeners a varied experience. It’s a lot more polished compared to her debut and excitingly hears her preparing for the arena shows her upcoming UK tour sees her headlining. After a four year wait this album doesn’t disappoint in delivering hits, bops, emotional moments and everything in between. 

You can pre order Rita Ora’s new album now from Sanity https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2405734/Phoenix

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