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Album Review: Rita Ora – Ora

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The world seems to be hostile toward comparisons but sometimes they’re just so obvious. Rita Ora has been widely written about as the British Rihanna much to the annoyance of her fans, but ‘Ora’, her debut record, chooses not to steer away from the Rihanna similarities, but rather plays on them in an exceptionally clever way.

Many moons ago, Rihanna was not concerned with elevating the trend of dance-pop to epidemic extremes – instead, she was peddling a brand of fierce R&B inspired pop that was so fresh and exciting, it made her the success that she is today. The first thing Rita Ora has done right is rehashing this genre that has tragically disappeared from the mainstream and the second thing she succeeds in is making sure it has enough of her own stamp and personality to stop this whole thing from becoming a joke.

So the blueprint is mapped out, but does the album manage to live up to expectations? Quality wise, ‘Ora’ is a decent album with only one real flop (‘Fall In Love’ – a few ounces of potential, stifled by a messy production). ‘Love and War’ is an ode to reconciliation, performed over a creepily sinister beat. ‘Facemelt’ is just as intense as you’d expect and number one single ‘R.I.P.’ is easily one of the best singles released this year.

Meanwhile, ‘Uneasy’, written by The Ting Tings sounds a lot like Rita Ora doing a song by The Ting Tings which may be a good thing or not, depending on your view of the divisive pair. The genius that is Sia lent her hand to the upcoming single ‘Radioactive’, an Ibiza-pop affair with a fist-in-the-air chorus. Nothing is quite as dancefloor-ready as the DJ Fresh track, though – the tune that Rita made her name with, ‘Hot Right Now’, suitably tacked onto the end of ‘Ora’.

The thing with ‘Ora’ is that it’s got some of the biggest pop moments of recent years in it – the massive ‘R.I.P’, the Roc Nation anthem ‘Roc The Life’ and the bittersweet ‘Love and War’. Spliced within these moments of genius are glimpses of sheer disappointment, however. ‘Been Lying’ is enjoyable but forgettable, as is the case with ‘Shine Ya Light’ and delicate ballad ‘Hello, Hi, Goodbye’; a slowie that doesn’t have the depth or strength that it could have boasted, given a few tweaks. Those few moments of absolute victory should be enough to get you rooting for Rita Ora, though and if things go well, album two will be a chance to iron out the creases and ditch the sub-par material.

Photo: Facebook
Words: Simon McMurdo

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