“Reflection” provides perfect soundtrack for Fifth Harmony’s coming out party

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Margaret Geist, A&E Editor

Let’s face it – the music industry has changed. Horn sections, vocal riffs, boy bands and girl groups are back and everything that is old is new again. Fresh faces are taking us back to the jazz roots of popular music and mixing in their own flavor. “X Factor” alums Fifth Harmony, a girl group formed in 2012 featuring Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui and Normani Kordei have created “Reflection,” an album that does just that.

“Reflection” begins with “Top Down,” a song featuring jazzy saxophone riffs and a techno base. Starting the album with this high energy hit invites listeners to “get in my truck” and get ready for the ride.

Following this is “Bo$$,” the first single of this album. A girl power anthem with references to Michelle Obama and Oprah, this song brings listeners back to the days of Destiny’s Child and TLC. With a bandstand feel and clappable beats, “Bo$$” mixes the classic girl group R&B vibe with classic soulful hits from way back.

Next up is “Sledgehammer,” the second single off the album, which is a powerful song that skillfully combines the singing talents of each member and weaves them into a ballad of sorts. Beginning with an a cappella rendition of the chorus and culminating with Cabello belting out the final note to end the bridge, “Sledgehammer” is sure to be a hit.

“Worth It” and “Like Mariah” are two songs that dip into the hip hop genre, with “Worth It” sampling a sound similar to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me” and featuring rapper Kid Ink. “Like Mariah” would definitely make the diva they are emanating proud. Samplings of Carey’s song “Always Be My Baby” combined with Fifth Harmony’s soulful lyrics sung in Carey’s style create a total R&B hit.

“Reflection,”  “Them Girls Be Like” and “Suga Mama” are three more girl power songs to be expected from a powerhouse like Fifth Harmony. Breaking down female stereotypes and exerting their dominance with antagonistic and prideful lyrics, these three hits are punches in the gut in the best way.

“Everlasting Love” and “We Know” slow things down a bit. With the girls crooning out heartfelt lyrics and piano-led bluesy sound, these songs add a more diverse sound to the album overall and show Fifth Harmony’s versatility.

The true stand out on the album is the fifth track, “This Is How We Roll.” The five girls’ voices mix together in a potent chorus and break down with an intense Calvin Harris-style beat drop. The mix of smooth vocal rhythm and the deep electronic beat from verses to chorus fuses the song so well. Just as the group itself can swim between genres, so can this song.

With “Reflection,” Fifth Harmony has brought back the female empowerment that music has been lacking since girl groups were in charge in the late 90s- early 2000s. Their mix of old and new music styles combined with feminine lyrics and vocal flexibility make Fifth Harmony a group to watch.