Review - Rita Ora - Ora (Deluxe Edition)
Rita Ora follows in the footsteps of many a UK-based female singer-songwriter these days. Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Adele, Jessie J, Little Boots, Marina and the Diamonds, and Emeli Sande all have found success through this method. All of them seems to go down the same path: critical acclaim (in the form of the BRIT Award for Critic’s Choice [or on the shortlist] and a placement on the BBC’s “Sound Of…[whatever year]), commercial success with singles and albums, and international export as “the new big thing”.
Rita Ora has all of that, all but the critical acclaim. ‘Ora’ tells us why.
I have said it many times, and I’ll say it again: Rita Ora is the British Rihanna. She is really reaching into that market, and she’s doing alright with it. Pop, dance, success with guest features, some interesting bits thrown onto an album for critical appeasement. Oh, and then there’s who she actually is – Ora is black, but not too hip-hop. She’s just ethnic enough (she’s actually from Yugoslavia) to pull of some R&B and hip-hip guest verses on her songs, but not so much that she can’t whip out poo hit after pop hit.
‘Ora’, her kind of self-titled debut plays almost exactly as a Rihanna album would. We’ve got the big international singes – “How We Do (Party)” (which has just enough swagger) and “Radioactive”. There is the guest single that helped make her big – the DJ Fresh-produced <a href="http://popbangboom.blogspot.com/2012/04/are-these-any-good.html">“Hot Right Now”</a>, which brings her into the dance world officially. And we have a hip-hoppy dubsteppy second single <a href="http://popbangboom.blogspot.com/2012/05/oh-hey-rihanna.html">“R.I.P. (ft. Tinie Tempah)”</a>.
Looking at the producers on this album, you can see that Roc Nation, the label home to both of these artists, spared no expense making this album. You can also see more than a few more Rihanna comparisons by looking at who produced ‘Ora’:
Rita Ora: “R.I.P. (ft. Tinie Tempah), “Love and War (ft. J. Cole)”, and the suspiciously-close-to-Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” (which he also produced) “Young, Single, and Sexy”
Rihanna: “S&M”, “What’s My Name (ft. Drake)”, “Only Girl (In The World)”, “Te Amo”, “Rude Boy”, “Take A Bow”, “Hate That I Love You”, “Don’t Stop the Music”, “We Ride”, and “Unfaithful” (PHEW!)
Rita Ora: “Roc The Life” (too similar to Rihanna’s “Roc Me Out” from her latest album – ALSO produced by Stargate), “Hello, Hi, Goodbye”
Rita Ora: “Fall In Love (ft. himself)”
Rihanna: “Photographs (ft. himself)”
Rita Ora: “How We Do (Party)”
Rihanna: “Cheers (Drink To That)”, “California King Bed”
Now, I want you all to be impressed that I just did all that research. Anyways, basically, Roc Nation is trying to make another Rihanna happen, and I can’t say I blame them. Sadly, Ora doesn’t have what Rihanna does – whatever that may be – and most of ‘Ora’ falls kind of flat. Even Rihanna’s album tracks usually aren’t that bad, but a lot of this album is…meh.
After third single “Radioactive” (to be released), the album completely gets lost. While there are a few moments on the CD that are interesting (essentially anything Diplo produced), ‘Ora’ is full of tried-and-true album standards that are by now just boring. Even the big singles aren’t too memorable, and thus why Rihanna she is not.
‘Ora’ won’t be available until September in the US, but it is available in the UK starting August 27th.
Listen to: “Facemelt”, “How We Do (Party)”, and “Radioactive”