Rita Ora’s long-awaited new album 'Phoenix', featuring Cardi B and Avicii, shows off her artistic ability as a singer and songwriter [Album Review]

Rita Ora’s long-awaited new album 'Phoenix', featuring Cardi B and Avicii, shows off her artistic ability as a singer and songwriter [Album Review]

The British artist's first album was released in 2012, and the follow-up was first expected early this year

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Ora's album has been pushed back many times, but the wait is finally over.
Photo: Reuters

Rita Ora’s second album Phoenix may have been a long  long  time coming, but the wait is over: the new record is full of vibrant pop songs which really show off Ora’s talents as both a singer and a lyricist.

It kicks off with a bang. Opener Anywhere has been kicking around for a while – it was originally released in October last year. Musically, this atmospheric glitch-pop hit evokes images of a Californian landscape at dusk, no matter that the lyrics – “Over the hills and far away/ A million miles away from LA” – suggest otherwise.

Rita Ora on being a feminist, why her latest album is her most personal, and why her journey is proof you can shine Anywhere

Ora has beefed up this album with plenty of high-profile collaborations. Lonely Together was written with the late DJ Avicii; sadly, it fails to impress with its trashy eurobeat instrumentation, even if her vocals are belted out passionately. Ora really takes a backseat on Summer Love, too, with Rudimental’s drum’n’bass beat dwarfing everything else.

But the power-group of Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX really elevate the tongue-in-cheek summer smash Girls, before Ora reaches a lyrical high on the reflective Julia Michaels-featured Keep Talking, with lines like, “There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t said to myself/There’s nothing you can make me feel that I haven’t already felt”.

Ora’s lyrics might not always be quite so profound in other songs, but she still provides plenty of explosive choruses, like in closer Hell of a Life, or Only Want You, along with neat little melodies packed in as often as possible. And it’s these little flashes of brilliance that can make us forgive the more uninventive aspects of this album.

Bonus: Throwback to when Young Post's Junior Reporters Manager accidentally blanked Rota Ora! 

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