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Rita Ora's debut album Ora is a star-studded affair, featuring songs produced by Drake, Chase & Status, Will.i.am, The-Dream, Stargate and Fraser T Smith. There are also tracks featuring Tinie Tempah, J. Cole and her smash hit collaboration with DJ Fresh "Hot Right Now".
Commenting on the artists that have contributed to Ora, the singer said: "I can't believe how lucky I've been to work with these amazing people – we've all clicked and had such a good time in making my album."
Pop stars are often quick to describe their album as being “like a collection of singles,” to avoid the suggestion that any of the songs are makeweights. Few have taken this approach quite as literally as Rita Ora, whose debut actually sounds more like Now That’s What I Call 2012 than the work of a single artist.
All the hit-makers are here, and not just on the hits: How We Do (Party), Hot Right Now and R.I.P. – number one smashes all. She’s worked with Drake, Kanye West and Jay-Z; there are appearances from will.i.am, DJ Fresh, Tinie Tempah; songs are written by Ester Dean, Stargate, Chase & Status... Justin Bieber is surely only a phone call away.
For her part, Rita is incredibly adept at channelling the essential spirits of other vocalists – Rihanna’s flattened moan one minute (Shine Ya Light), Katy B’s up-for-it holler the next (Love and War), a lurch towards the healing hoot of Katy Perry (Been Lying), and the occasional nod towards P!nk, Ke$ha and other popstrels who can’t spell their own names without the shift key. This, while fun, does occasionally mean it’s hard to appreciate Rita for herself, and that seems a shame, given her palpable charisma.
The most unsettling moment comes when she launches into a full-throated impression of The Ting Tings’ Katie White in the bolshy Uneasy, which was written for her by the actual Ting Tings. The inclusion of a Rihanna “yeah-ay-ay” section only adds to the sense of identity crisis. At the other extreme, there’s Fall in Love, a dirty bass swoosh in which will.i.am delivers the least momentous rap in musical history and Rita squeals “fa-la-la-laa!” like a Morris dancer. It’s not brilliant, but it does at least sound like no one else.
Thing is, it’s fine to take your place among the everything elseness of modern pop music – sparky popstrels have to eat, too – but when the next star comes along and claims Rita Ora as an influence, we’re all going to have a devil of job working out what that means.
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Top customer reviews
1. Facemelt - 2/10 - Probably the worst opening track I have ever head. Just a noisy mess.
2. Roc the Life - 8/10 - This is one of the standout tracks on the album. Good drums and vocals.
3. How We Do (Party) - 6/10 - The verses drag, but the pre-chorus and chorus are catchy.
4. R.I.P. - 8/10 - Another standout track, with great instrumentals. Tinie Tempah is a great addition to the track and Rita sounds good.
5. Radioactive - 6/10 - There is a bit of a disconnect between the verses and chorus. The chorus is fist-pumping good, though.
6. Shine Ya Light - 4/10 - Very repetitive chorus and a not very interesting track overall
7. Love and War - 7/10 - This is a really good album track. J. Cole's addition to the track is great.
8. Uneasy - 6/10 - This song has so much potential to be brilliant, but the clipped/rapped delivery of the verses and the "yeah-ay-ay" really drag it down.
9. Fall in Love - 4/10 - A poor collaboration between Rita and will.i.am. The auto tune and pointless lyrics from will.i.am and the screechy chorus from Rita don't exactly make for a pleasant listen.
10. Been Lying - 5/10 - Another repetitive track. Rita, at least, sounds good on the track.
11. Hello, Hi, Goodbye - 7/10 - This is a very pleasant mid-tempo track. The emotion in Rita's voice is not overshadowed by any jarring beats. The ending of the track could be better, though. It feels very "cut-off".
12. Hot Right Now - 8/10 - This is the song which introduced me to Rita. Headstompingly good. I'm still holding out for a good live performance of the song.
13. Crazy Girl - 6/10 - Good bonus track.
14. Young, Single & Sexy - 10/10 - This is my favourite song on the album. I think this the only track where Rita explores her vocal range in depth. The ad-libs at the end sound nice.
15. Meet Ya - 6/10 - Another good bonus track. Not the best choice to close the album, in my opinion, as it just peters out at the end.
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