Release Date: Feb 3, 2015
Record label: Epic
The debut album from The X-Factor's second season third-place finishers Fifth Harmony, 2015's Reflection is a slick production superbly showcasing the group's multi-voiced approach to contemporary R&B. Working with a bevy of top-notch producers and songwriters including Julian Bunetta, Stargate, Dr. Luke, Ricky Reed, and others, Fifth Harmony members Ally Brooke Hernandez, Camila Cabello, Normani Hamilton, Dinah-Jane Hansen, and Lauren Jauregui have crafted an album that is very much a savvy pop product of the moment.
Women reclaimed the pop charts in 2014, sparking a renewed interest in "girl power" as a concept, a marketing strategy, and as clickbait fodder. Last October, solo female artists held down the top five slots of the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks straight for the first time in the chart’s 56-year history, setting into high gear an overarching media narrative along the lines of "girls rule, boys drool. " It was a compelling angle, with more than enough evidence to support it: Taylor Swift’s 1989 almost singlehandedly kept the record industry afloat; "Bang Bang" presented itself as a millennial "Lady Marmalade"; Beyoncé reset the standard for album rollouts; Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, and Iggy Azalea sat comfortably atop the charts.
When it comes to girl groups in a post-Beyoncé world, female empowerment is the name of the game. On the debut from Fifth Harmony (which formed during the second season of The X Factor, in 2012), high self-esteem feels like a party. Infectious lyrics like "Think I'm in love, 'cause you so sexy/Boy, I ain't talkin' 'bout you, I'm talkin' to my own reflection" complement club-ready beats that leave no room for saccharine ballads.
Fifth Harmony was formed on the second season of the American version of “The X Factor,” a collection of powerhouse singers sagely culled by Simon Cowell into a girl-group phalanx. They lacked a clear, unified identity, a problem answered with a curious solution on “Reflection” (SYCO/Epic ….