EP REVIEW: Rita Ora x Imanbek – Bang

Rita Ora is currently in Australia and quarantining ahead of the next season of The Voice Australia as she prepares to become a judge on the massive TV show juggernaut. And while she’s waiting to start filming, she’s dropped a brand new EP which marks her first body of work music since her 2018 sophomore album ‘Phoenix’. 

‘Bang’ comes after only 1 week of warning, with no lead single, or any real idea of what was to be expected by this four track collection. After a first listen, you walk away with a fresh perspective on her evolving music that seems to be heavily influenced by the collaborations she’s done in the past, and is also a big departure from the clean-pop sound of her only 2020 single ‘How To Be Lonely’. 

Doused in a heavier electronic experimentation, these songs rely on big beat drops and intricate production to really enhance the storytelling and hook-writing. The EP also doubles as a collaborative effort with imanbek who is responsible for the Saint Jhn ‘Roses’ remix that went globally viral last year. Through his influence and guidance, we’ve really seen an edgier and even more confident side of Rita Ora emerge. 

Opening track ‘Big’ feat Gunna and David Guetta is the perfect introduction into this deep-dive experimentation, and immediately hits you with its pulsating hook that grows on you with each listen. It’s a track that you could imagine blasting through a club on a night out with sweaty bodies surrounding you. 

‘Bang Bang’ is a song that will be undeniably have heads turning within the first 10 seconds as the clever sample of Crazy Frog and Harold Faltermeyer’s ‘Axel F’ chimes through. It’s intoxicatingly catchy, and one I would be happy to hear over and over again like we did in 2005 with Crazy Frog.

‘Mood’ feat KHEA incorporates a hip-hop influence that is gritty, dark and sits more in Rihanna’s lane than what is honed on this EP. But the song that stands out as a big pop moment on this collection is ‘The One’. The track balances Ora’s classic sound with this heavier experimentation perfectly, and creates a pulsating and epic moment where you lose yourself in a club to forget your problems occurring in real life. Exploring being the person to hurt someone, this is a refreshing and different take on heartbreak that we desperately needed. “I always knew I could hurt someone, but I hate that you had to be the one” she honestly sings during the big hook. 

It’s unknown at this stage if this heavier experimentation with electronic music is a one off deep-dive for Rita Ora, but if it’s not then we can probably prepare for a lot more club ready bangers to have us eagerly anticipating dancing like we used to in clubs, because she’s smashed it with this fun collection of tracks.