Such has been Rita Ora’s omnipresence over the past few years, it’s easy to forget that the 27-year-old London singer-songwriter hasn’t released a full-length album since her debut in 2012. Though known for her modelling, acting, presenting et al, Ora hasn’t let the music slide; she recently became the British female artist with the most top 10 singles in UK chart history (overtaking Shirley Bassey and Petula Clark). And yet Ora’s pop career is rarely taken seriously, and the title of Phoenix feels pointed. Ora is hardly in need of a rise from the ashes, but if this album seeks to prove that her musical output is still relevant, it just about succeeds.
Buoyant and gleaming, Phoenix bubbles with soaring, EDM-lite beats and Ora’s wispy-powerful vocals – albeit with generic lyrics about love and fame. While this is a pleasant, polished dance-pop release, the most intriguing moments come from the collaborations: Keep Talking with Julia Michaels is particularly euphoric, while lyrically misguided ode to bisexuality Girls at least feels distinctive in its production. But you can’t help feeling that Ora is holding back. Phoenix is perfectly fine, but its strongest moments make you realise that it could have been great.Continue reading...
Sun Nov 25 09:00:09 CET 2018