aside Review: Rita Ora, ORA

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She’s Chris Martin’s favourite new artist of the year. She’s had three number one singles, been compared to Rihanna and has the backing of Jay Z. Judging from the above, it would appear that Rita Ora has already made it, and the release of her debut album ORA seems to solidify her rising star status in pop music.

ORA is filled with pop-friendly, radio ready songs that sometimes lack authenticity, and mostly hides Rita’s voice beneath heavy production. The production may not entirely be Rita’s fault, since producers include Will.I.Am and The Dream, both of whom have become synonymous with this style.  When asked about the album, Rita said that she wanted the album to sound “free and raw” like the subway. Yet, the album seems restricted to cater to the pop mould, achieving that instant chart success that often propel artists to success but ultimately fails them.

It’s not all bad, though. “Roc’ The Life” is big and boisterous, demanding attention like a boss. Fierce beats and rousing guitar riffs lace Rita’s vocals as she sings about living the good life. “Radiocative”, “Love and War” and “Uneasy” are set to follow suit and become potentially huge singles, much like her previous hits. If you ever wondered what Katy Perry’s “Firework” would sound like if it were less cheesy, than you will love “Shine Ya Light”. It’s sexy, urban and Rita puts her trademark edge on it. “Been Lying” sees Rita strip down, and reveal a more emotional, mature side of herself.

All things considered, this is possibly the best album Rita Ora could have made in 2012. Artists are faced with abandoning some of their personal vision which their record labels may feel would be hard to sell and make money off of. I just wish there was more Rita and less production. Individually, the songs could be uber hits, but as a body of work it lacks cohesion. It just feels like a collection of songs, and not an account of a journey translated into song. That being said, this album would be great in your car. Perfect for getting through traffic, or that Friday night drive to the club.

Rating: 6.5/10

Best Tracks: “Roc The Life”, “R.I.P”, “How We Do”, “Shine Your Light” and “Radioactive” are pop gems.

Worst Tracks:  Like Will.iAm’s collaborations with Cheryl Cole, “Fall In Love” just limps lazily towards the finish line.

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