Rita Ora | You & I Review
Rita Ora’s You & I : A Mixed Bag of Highs and Lows
by Bea Willis
Rita Ora has been in the game long enough to know the ebbs and flows of the pop landscape. Her latest offering, You & I, comes with a degree of hype and anticipation. Does it live up to its billing? Is it an album that rises above mere technicality to pluck at our heartstrings? Let’s dive in.
“You Only Love Me” opens with an intriguing intro where a male voice leaves a message, akin to a phone recording. The finger snaps and keyboard accompanying Ora’s warm vocals set a soothing tone. The song takes off with a low-key dance beat during the pre-chorus, only to slow down, emphasizing the elongated chords in the chorus. Ora’s vocal versatility shines here—rhythmic in the post-chorus and expressive in the second pre-chorus. The outro cleverly revisits the intro, bookending the song in a satisfying fashion.
“That Girl” is a fresh addition of disco-pop sounds to the album. While it neither astounds nor disappoints, it has its moments. The melody is engaging, but the song form and instruments must have the complexities to make it memorable. The chorus, filled with looped samples and a predictable drum pad, is catchy but doesn’t offer a compelling narrative. Rita’s voice is, as always, gorgeous and technically on point, and she does flex her vocal muscles a tad.
I particularly paid close attention to the track, “Girl in the Mirror,” as its theme of self-love and introspection resonates deeply with me. With birds chirping and an acoustic guitar gently strumming, the song kicks off promisingly. The ‘ah’s in the first verses, though sonically pleasing, unfortunately, echo with a repetitive, almost mechanical feeling.
But then comes the pre-chorus, and oh my stars! Ora’s voice climbs with an energy that, frankly, is electrifying. It’s a buildup that promises a heartfelt and rousing story, elevating the emotional stakes as we segue into the chorus.
The pace and texture shift into a light-hearted dance beat in the chorus, teeming with bright instrumentals. The melody evokes an image of Rita twirling around a room filled with mirrors, singing to her reflections as if they’re long-lost friends. Yet, while the second verse ups the ante with vocal harmonies and fills, this elevating complexity doesn’t carry through to the second chorus. The instrumentation could have followed suit, with bolder drum and bass lines to signify her evolving self-love. It’s like arriving at the climax of a novel only to find the final pages missing; the emotional payoff isn’t fully realized.
You & I is a musical roller coaster, taking listeners on a journey through highs, lows, and plateaus. “You Only Love Me” exemplifies Ora’s vocal power and artistic depth. “That Girl” sits comfortably in the middle, neither making nor breaking the album’s allure. “Girl in the Mirror,” although well-intentioned, fails to deliver a powerful emotional punch.
Is You & I revolutionary? Perhaps not. But does it capture moments of brilliance, blandness, and blunders? Absolutely. Rita Ora’s latest album proves she’s not a one-note artist; she’s a performer still exploring her range, sometimes hitting the mark and, at other times, providing listeners with something to ponder.
If you’re an avid fan of Rita Ora, this album is a must-listen. For the casual listener, this album offers glimpses into Ora’s versatility and showcases her gorgeous singing and areas needing fine-tuning.
You & I
Release Date: July 14, 2023
About the author
With an unwavering passion for music that began at the tender age of five, I embarked on a journey of self-expression through the piano, later expanding my repertoire to the guitar and the art of singing. As a seasoned performer in cozy coffee shops and harmonious choir ensembles, I've immersed myself in the diverse tapestry of musical genres, seeking to uncover the intricate qualities that strike a chord within our souls.
Beyond my personal experiences, my journalistic pursuits have led me to explore the stories and inspirations behind the melodies we hold dear. As a music journalist, I aim to delve into the heart of each composition, shedding light on the creative minds that have shaped the soundscape of our lives.
In my downtime, you can find me serenading my loyal canine companion with heartfelt tunes on the guitar or indulging in retail therapy to enhance my ever-growing wardrobe. Songwriting holds a special place in my heart, and I yearn for the day when I can share my creative talents with the world. Until then, my passion for uncovering the emotional power within music continues to drive my insightful reviews and analyses, as I journey through the rich landscape of melodies that move us.