GRAPHIC BY CHRISTINA QUACH
By RANI CHOR
After six long years, Rita Ora is rising back from the ashes like a Phoenix.
On Nov. 23, British born actor, model and singer Rita Sahatçiu Ora finally released her second studio album Phoenix.
After delaying the release of the album for four years, the brilliant composition of the album makes up for the lost time.
In twelve uniquely crafted songs, Ora explores concepts such as self-love and girl power all while remaining blissfully in tune with the music.
Starting with her oldest song “Your Song”—which was released in May 2017— listeners are caught up in the glamour of the flirtation that drifts in and out of the music. The song reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Ora’s ninth single to reach the top ten in the UK.
Additionally, listeners cannot forget her first release “Anywhere.” A lyrical combination of EDM and pop, there is an immediate pull when Ora paints “a world that she wants to belong in.” With the pleasant tunes, the beat is catchy, polished, and altogether a perfect blend of modern music.
Moreover, Ora’s track “Soul Sister” was one of the most highly anticipated songs of the album, and for a good reason. As one of Ora’s more personal tracks, “Soul Sister” is almost explicitly directed to her former record label Roc Nation, which prevented her from creating a second album. Deliciously crafty with lyrics like “Da-n frustrating that you think I could never make it… Look who’s standing right in front of you!”, the song is relatable as well as catchy.
On the other hand, one of Rita’s more popular yet controversial songs is “Girls,” an electrical pop song full of tactically synthetic beats. Although the lyrics received backlash for enforcing stereotypes, the song itself is Ora’s personal ode to how bisexuality has impacted her life.
Moreover, any listener hearing “I ain’t one-sided, I’m open-minded” will understand how Ora has created a mix between controversial and superficially creative.
The most intriguing moments of the album, however, are actually the collaborations. For example, the song “Keep Talking, ” featuring Julia Michaels, combines Ora’s and Michael’s voices to create a wispy drawn-out work of art. “Lonely Together,” a collaboration with the late Swedish producer Avicii, is yet another unforgettable collaboration, and is a nod toward Ora’s wispy voice and Avicii’s EDM legacy.
Despite the album’s collection of jaw-dropping singles, not every song lives up to the bar that tracks before have set. For example, the primary part of “Summer Love” seems to be the music and not Ora’s voice. When the chorus is playing, the drumbeat quickens and the singer seems to scramble to find her place. In this haze, the song goes from inviting to chaotic and confusing.
Nonetheless, the essence of the album itself is not tainted. Phoenix paints the picture of Ora bouncing back to the music industry, and the journey has definitely not been easy.
After breaking up with former boyfriend Calvin Harris, Ora lost legal authority over songs that were meant to go toward Phoenix. For example, Ora was stopped from performing “I Will Never Let You Down” at the 2014 Teen Choice Awards, because Harris who had written and produced the song with her refused to give her legal right to the song.
Additionally, in order to continue her music career, Ora departed from Roc Nation after she filed a lawsuit to be freed from her contract.
During this interim from her musical career, Ora filled the space by acting in various television and fashion stints.
Nevertheless, it only took “Your Song” to get Ora back on track to prove that her pop career was not in the ashes.
Currently, Ora has truly defined what it means to be a pop powerhouse in terms of what it took to create Phoenix.
Though Ora does reflect on her past, the music seems to be more directed toward maintaining the present. Her album demonstrates that with her determined mentality, she decided to continue her career in pop and not let it slip away. Just by listening to the heartfelt lyrics, it is as if Ora took a break purposely in order to come back stronger. Ora even commented on her album, telling fans, “It’s called Phoenix because I feel I have a second chance to put out an album that is me and I represent myself rising from the ashes.”
Ultimately, Rita Ora’s blasting vocals and her brilliant song makes Phoenix worth the wait.