Rita rising to her own tune
PHOENIX RITA ORA (ATLANTIC)
It’s finally happened. A pop starlet has gone and used Autotune’s powers for good. The last time this occurred was when vanguard Cher underwater warbled with Believe in ’98.
Londoner Rita Ora, 27, opens her second album Phoenix with Anywhere. It starts with fingerclicks and a musing guitar build, then what I’d call “understanding” backing vocals and a vintage Calvin Harris kickdrum and bass combo bring us to climax before she hits us with an outstanding drop and stuttering, treated vocal loops: “Fun, little less fun, little less over ovvvvverrr ovvvverrrrr, ovvvvverrr moyyyeeee”. Yes, she goes Kath and Kim with the Autotune and sounds like a foxymoron (compliment).
Allow me to cryogenically freeze this review in 2018: Rita Ora is making charming chart pop and I’m here for it.
That’s all in the first song, I better calm my farm.
New Look spins the tale of a clingy partner who wants to know your every move, you just know it won’t end well when there’s “another girl in the back, what’s she doing, what’s she asking?” Who would step out on lovely Rita? She’s “been out on my grind.” Kerb, kick him.
Lonely Together feat. Rita Ora is an Avicii (RIP) jam, that’s far too keen on getting to the bells and whistles chorus without letting the song marinate first. It’s a throwaway glassy-eyed, raving-in-a-field, goon-slurping hit and it’s had 117 million views on YouTube.
Let You Love Me is a midtempo pop banger, Summer Love is a drum’n’bass hummer right when we need it, Girls feat. Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX sings “sometimes I just wanna kiss girls”. Cue: culture wars thinkpieces. Shh.
Ora will ignore the noise, she’s out here on a grind and find mission and regenerating.
VERDICT Harmless pop that sees Ora soar and score