Rita Ora - ORA
With three number one singles prior to the release of ORA, chances are you’ve already heard the best of newest Roc Nation recruit Rita Ora. Opening her debut album with the suitably named ‘Facemelt’, Ora launches into an M.I.A. carbon copy rap (minus the political commentary), backed by a thunderingly dirty bass line, smothered with reverb. It’s an accelerating track that builds anticipation with the line "it’s the kind of beat that will make your face melt". A promising start.
However, any adrenaline is instantly diluted as second track ‘Roc The Life’ (a tribute to her label) fades into a mediocre plodding pop monstrosity with no real structure. I hate to admit it, but it could do with a boost from the now exhausted dubstep interlude plastered all over the top 40 at the moment. Think watered down Rihanna, with a half arsed chorus. It’s a seemingly temporary blip though, and the first of three singles, ‘Party (How We Do)’, launches into its sugar coated pop hooks and insanely memorable chorus. There’s a revelation to be had too: that pause in the chorus is actually a bleeped out cuss word, although how much sense ‘I wanna party and bullshit’ makes is yet to be decided.
Keeping the tempo is the next in the trio of number ones, ‘RIP’ with a featured verse from none other than UK golden grime boy Tinie Tempah. He puts a pun on the headliners name with his opening line ‘Sexy senoRita, I feel your Ora’, which is incredibly cheesy but in a way that it’s also kind of fun. Ora’s vocals come into their own on this track as she smoulders her way through the verses; however any seductiveness is lost to the frankly, boring chorus.
The high profile guests (surely Roc Nation CEO Jay Z calling in some favours) are bound to sell records; as well as Tinie, the album also features verses from will.i.am and the slightly more credible J. Cole. They might look good on the track listing on the back of the album, but they add little to the album and are simply unit shifters. The one exception comes in the form of Ora’s collaboration with DJ Fresh, the exhilaratingly energetic ‘Hot Right Now’ - a track played so much this summer that surely the disc is scratched to pieces by now.
Avoid cringe-laden ballad ‘Hello, Hi Goodbye’ - its lyrics are so crap that even the afro-folk beatand Ora’s capable vocals can’t save it. With her voice, it might be assumed that a ballad would suit the album, but it’s her slightly uneasy attempt at a rap on - the aptly titled - 'Uneasy' which impresses. She is surprisingly convincing, especially with the dance hall influence that is blatant across the album.
You'll find songs you like and then those not so. But the ratio of hits to misses doesn’t matter anyway - Jay Z will ensure that his newest cohort will be on your radio for a long time to come.