Tuesday 28 August 2012

Rita Ora - ORA

There are two sides to Rita Ora - Rita the ghetto princess singing RnB club bangers and Rita the popstar.  It's a dichotomy you'll recognise in Rihanna, but where she successfully blends the two, Rita doesn't quite achieve the same.

RIP is one of the few exceptions, marrying the two styles in chart-topping fashion - even if Tinie Tempah's rap is dreadful.  Roc the Life follows a similar template.  With its pounding beat, guitar-based production and club-friendly chorus, this is surely a future single.  Current single How We Do (Party) is pure pop, but it injects some much needed fun into 'ORA'.  At the least we can now enjoy the track in full rather than the terrible edited versions heard across the radio.

The rest of the album fails to live up to the hype.  Opener Facemelt begins proceedings with a dirty beat and a repeated attitude-laden chorus of "this the kind of beat that will make your face melt".  It wrongly sets us up for an album of gritty RnB that will barely cause your face to move at all in utter indifference, let alone melt.  The dub-step tinged opening of Shine Ya Light makes way for a dull chorus; the semi-rapping of Uneasy leads into a poppy chorus; Love and War features J.Cole but its sentiment ("can we just make love and not war") has been heard countless times before.

Radioactive might be a fairly standard club tune, but at least it acknowledges this with its "palms to the sky" chorus - it's sure to be a dancefloor hit.  Fall in Love is similarly unimaginative (it does feature Will.I.Am after all), but it's catchy enough.

It's not until the end that 'ORA' presents any variety.  Been Lying is the first of two ballads, though it's a dull Kelly Clarkson-esque affair.  Hello, Hi, Goodbye is a much better offering with its hushed snare drum rhythms, even if its emotive melodies aren't powerful enough.  That's before the very skipable Hot Right Now and three bonus tracks that aren't worth your time - a last ditch attempt at grit with Crazy Girl; a girl-power ballad in Young, Single & Sexy; and the Jackson 5-esque Meet Ya.

In all, 'ORA' is nothing we haven't seen already from Rihanna.  Ora herself is a talent worthy of more than Ri-Ri's cast-offs and she's certainly established herself as a solo artist rather than just a guest vocalist following her initial collaboration with DJ Fresh.  Yet whilst there are some catchy enough tracks here, the album doesn't live up to her potential.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Roc The Life
* How We Do (Party)

Listen: 'ORA' is available now.