On paper, ORA was destined to be a hit, with its all-star list of collaborators: featured artists (Tinie Tempah, J. Cole and will.i.am), songwriters (Drake, Sia, The Ting Tings) and producers (Stargate, The-Dream, Diplo). But while the record highlights how nice it must be to know Jay-Z, its "wholeness" as an album is another story.
Ora has drawn a lot of comparisons to fellow Jay-Z mentee Rihanna, and it's obvious why on Radioactive. Sounding almost exactly like the Barbadian songstress in delivery and tone, her voice exudes the same haunting aura as she sings about having a good time. She's even got the weird catchy chorus down (she enunciates every syllable of the title word as if she's teaching English).
Fellow Brit Tinie Tempah was called in for R.I.P. His fast-paced grimey rap verse quickly sets the mood of the dub step-influenced track, then Ora's vocals follow, full of swagger, making it the perfect dancefloor-filler.
While it's fun to get hyped about a night out, there's nothing wrong with slowing things down and letting your voice carry the track. Unfortunately there's only one such song here, Hello Hi Goodbye. With simple percussion and a minimal, steady drum track, her poignant, husky vocals are on full display as she belts out sentimental lyrics such as "Reality is, we will never be/ I'm prone to a love travesty/And this feels like another tragedy".
A good two-thirds of the album is made of tracks that seem to be tailor-made for clubs, which gets repetitive. ORA is a solid debut, but she will need to diversify if she's ever going to step out of the shadow of Rihanna.
YP Rating: 3/5