Reflection (Fifth Harmony album)
Standard edition cover.
The deluxe edition cover features the same image, except in color.
|Studio album by Fifth Harmony|
|Released||January 30, 2015|
|Recorded||March – November 2014|
|Fifth Harmony chronology|
|Singles from Reflection|
Reflection is the debut studio album by American girl group Fifth Harmony. It was released on January 30, 2015, by Syco Music and Epic Records. Lyrically, the album discusses themes of female-empowerment, romance, heartbreak and confidence. Describing itself as a pop album, while showcasing synthpop, "grungy" hip hop and R&B. The album features guest appearances from American rappers Kid Ink and Tyga, as well as American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, while it was serving collaborations with several producers such as Ori Kaplan, Dr. Luke and Stargate. The album received acclaim from contemporary music critics and it was ranked as one of the best albums of 2015 by several publications, including Spin, Rolling Stone and Complex.
Commercially, the album entered at number five on the Billboard 200, earning the group their first top five entry in the United States with 80,000 equivalent units (with 62,000 of that coming from traditional album sales). The album entered the top twenty in the United Kingdom, after peaking at number 18 and charted within the top ten in countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Spain. Elsewhere, the album charted within the top thirty of ten additional countries. To further promote the album, the group embarked on their first headlining tour, the Reflection Tour, visiting the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.
The album was supported by three singles: its lead single, "Boss", released on July 7, 2014, followed by "Sledgehammer" premiering on October 28, 2014 and the third and final single, "Worth It" featuring Kid Ink which was released on March 3, 2015. All three singles made appearances in the top fifty of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking individually at 43, 40 and 12, respectively. "Worth It" became the album's most successful single, charting in the top ten in thirteen countries. Both "Boss" and "Sledgehammer" achieved platinum certification in the United States, while "Worth It" became a certified triple platinum in the country. In February 2016, Reflection was certified Gold, and in December 2017, Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America for combined sales, streaming and track equivalent units of 1,000,000. As of December 2017, the album has sold 200,000 pure copies in the United States.
- 1 Background and release
- 2 Recording and development
- 3 Composition
- 4 Singles
- 5 Promotion
- 6 Critical reception
- 7 Commercial performance
- 8 Track listing
- 9 Personnel
- 10 Charts
- 11 Certifications
- 12 Release history
- 13 References
Background and release
After finishing in third place on the second season of The X Factor and releasing their debut extended play titled Better Together, Fifth Harmony announced they would be releasing a full-length album in the spring of 2014. During the voting stages of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards where Fifth Harmony was nominated in the "Artist to Watch" category, fans were asked to vote for the group a certain number of times to help unlock the cover art for the album. The title and the cover of the album were unveiled on Fifth Harmony's official website on August 12, 2014. After receiving negative feedback from fans, the group revealed a new album cover on August 23, 2014. The album's release date was delayed a number of times during the last quarter of 2014 and early 2015. The album was ultimately released on February 3, 2015 in the United States.
Recording and development
During an interview with Billboard, Fifth Harmony stated that the album will signal a more mature sound for the group, "We've started recording and getting into that process, we have shifted the lane a bit and made it a more mature sound, because obviously, we're growing up too." Lauren Jauregui also told Billboard during an interview that the album's recording was set to commence in April 2014 and stated that the album sound would be less pop than their previous work on Better Together.
In the album's production, the group worked with a variety of collaborators. The Norwegian production duo Stargate wrote and co-produced the song "Worth It" with musician Ori Kaplan who also contributed performing the saxophone. It was recorded in three different studios: Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles and Windmark Recording Studio in Santa Monica in the state or California, The Hide Out Studios located in London. The song was mixed by Jaycen Joshua with assistance from Ryan Kaul and Maddox Chhim at Larrabee Sound Studios North Hollywood, also located in California.
Producer Dr. Luke contributed in the track "This Is How We Roll" along with Cirkut which was recorded at Conway Recording Studios in Hollywood and Luke's In the Boo in Malibu, both located in California. The song was mixed by Serban Ghenea at MixStar Studios. The group also worked with Tommy Brown who recreated a '90's R&B sound in the song "Everlasting Love" with Travis Sayles and also produced the stripped-down track "We Know". Singer-songwriter Victoria Monét wrote and produced the group's vocals in both songs and also handled the co-production of the title track, "Them Girls Be Like" produced by T-Collar with additional production by Monét. "Everlasting Love", "Reflection", "Them Girls Be Like" and "We Know" were recorded at Vietnom Studios.
The album's lead single, "Boss" was written by Eric Frederic, Joe Spargur, Daniel Kyriakides, Gamal Lewis, Jacob Kasher and Taylor Parks, and was produced by Ricky Reed with Joe London and Daylight. It was recorded at The Venice Studio in Venice, Los Angeles and The Record Plant (also in Los Angeles). Singer Meghan Trainor contributed with vocals on "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" and co-writing songs, including "Sledgehammer" and "Sugar Mama". Chris "Flict" Aparri (credited just as "Flict") handled the production for the three tracks. The three songs were also recorded at Windmark Recording Studios.
Music and lyrics
Musically, Reflection explores a variety of musical genres. As noted by Matt Collar, from AllMusic, the album spans "from electronic-infused dance music to synthy, rhythmically bumptious hip-hop to retro-'90s R&B," Jason Lipshutz, from Billboard also noted the diversity present in the album's production, commenting that the group shows "that they are capable of slick synth-pop, grungy hip-hop and fluttering R&B" and adds that the "latter clearly indebted to the girl groups of the '90s." The songs share similar production and instrumentation, for example, horns can be heard as instrument present during the hook of the first track "Top Down", which are also introduced in the second song "Boss, serving as support instrument during the song, and also make an appearance on the third track "Worth It".
The lyrics explores themes of feminism and mainly female empowerment. Meaghan Garvey from Pitchfork described the album as "an album of fun, feminist pop that is simultaneously wise beyond its years and refreshingly age-appropriate—and it effortlessly embodies the ideals grasped at by the girl power think piece wave, with a sharp, nuanced perspective that can only come from lived experience."
Several critics noted the influence of singer Beyoncé in the album comparing the album to her works. During the song "Them Girls Be Like", member Lauren Jauregui sings: ""Do you ever post your pics with no filter, 'Hashtag,' I woke up like this, too" in a clear reference to Beyoncé's song "Flawless". Editor Dawn Richard of The New York Times, wrote that "Them Girls Be Like" and "Boss" are "dutiful Beyoncé homage." The song "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" contains a portions of Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious", co-written by Beyoncé. The group also praised the singer Mariah Carey on the titular track "Like Mariah", produced by J.R. Rotem and samples the hook present on Carey's 1995 single "Always Be My Baby".
Songs and lyrical content
The album opens with synths riff that are introduced the first track "Top Down". Among finger snaps, it features tottering beats and a horn riff in the hook which critics compared to Ariana Grande's "Problem". In the song chorus the group sings, "Blaze it up we'll be cruisin', with the Top Down/Rev up the engine we'll be cruisin' watch it go down/Get in my truck and I'll be ridin' with my Top Down." Brennan Carley from Spin described it as "an unknowingly filthy anthem about riding in the car." During the hook, the phrase "electric city" is repeated several times. The song's hip hop-inspired production also gained comparison to "Fancy" by rapper Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX.
The second track "Boss features trumpets, handclaps and heavy bass, creating a rhythmic militaristic sound. The lyrics features several cultural references, for example, the first verse the song refers to hip hop dance movement "Nae Nae": "Everyday is payday, swipe my card, then I do the nae nae." while the second line clearly cites the rappers Kanye West and Ray J: "You're talking to a lady, I want a Kanye and not a Ray J." During the chorus, the group also praised female icons Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, The song received comparisons to Destiny's Child's Independent Women; Christina Garibaldi from MTV commented that the group "proudly sing about the fact they don't need a man as they "pledge allegiance to my independent girls in here." In an interview with Garibaldi, the group stated that "the whole point of this song is for girls who are our age to turn it on and feel confident and empowered because at this age being insecure is such a common occurrence. So we think when you turn that song on, you feel sexy and feel good about yourself." The following track, "Sledgehammer", is an '80's-inspired synthpop It features EDM beats, and heavy synths. Lyrically, the song uses "Sledgehammer" as metaphor to express physical effects caused by love.
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The fourth track "Worth It" features a guest appearance by Kid Ink. The song is written from the perspective of a woman telling a man that she is "Worth It", implying sexual connotation. However, as others songs present in Reflection, "Worth It" could also be taken as a feminist song, where Jeff Benjamin from Fuse expands this notion by stating that the song can inspire "young girls to truly believe they're 'Worth It' and can own Wall Street or any other place on which they set their sights". Its instrumentation consists of horns sample, trance synths and a trap-inspired Roland TR-808 drum machine. Critics compared the song to "Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo (also produced by Norwegian production team Stargate and musician Ori Kaplan) for similar use of horn in its production.
The Dr. Luke-produced track, "This Is How We Roll" is a fusion of pop rock and electronic dance music, with the chorus driven by guitars chords that drop off during each EDM-influenced hook. Brennan Carley of Spin noted that the song's similar sound can be found in "Scream & Shout" by Will.i.am and Britney Spears, mainly during the song's breakdown. The sixth track, "Everlasting Love", is influenced by '90's R&B, the group sings over piano notes and chattering percussion. The following track, "Like Mariah" samples Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby". It also features guest vocals by rapper Tyga. The group sings the chorus: "Your loving takes me higher/You set my heart on fire/When you touch my body/Got me singing like" with Carey's hook harmonizing around. Jason Lipshutz from Billboard commented that in the song, "Fifth Harmony admirably pulls off the sunny R&B vibe and falsetto runs of the pop icon they're honoring on the track."
"Them Girls Be Like" also features cultural references in its lyrics, as commented by Jason Lipshutz of Billboard who wrote, "like "Boss", the song oozes self-assuredness, this time swatting down female rivals instead of tongue-wagging males. The millennial-friendly lyrics are an absolute blast to swim through." During the song, the group sings "We ain't like them girls that do too much/If you thirsty, you can't sit with us." The verse directly refers to the movie Mean Girls. In the bridge, member Lauren Jauregui belts out: "Do you ever post your pics with no filter" in a clear reference to the movement #Nofilter. Time editor Jamieson Cox from noted that in the song, the group "promote a positive body image." Musically, the track is strongly influenced by Caribbean music.
The title track "Reflection" is a hip hop number, with a trap-influenced chorus, where the member Normani Kordei sings: "You'd be rich if looking good was your profession/Think I'm in love, 'cause you so sexy/Boy, I ain't talkin' about you, I'm talking to my own reflection." Meaghan Garvey of Pitchfork commented that the track is a "celebration of self-love without the somberness and pedantry that often comes with the topic, purring flirty coos to their own mirror images and breezily refuting the idea that women dress up for male approval." "Suga Mama" was described by critics as a 2010s update of "No Scrubs" by R&B group TLC. Jamieson Cox of Time stated that in the track, "they're affectionate but unwilling to fund their deadbeat boyfriends' lavish lifestyles."
The eleventh track "We Know" is a stripped-down song in comparison to the rest of the album and begins with Normani Kordei singing the first verse followed by Camila Cabello. Jauregui performs the pre-chorus accompanied by a simple piano melody, member Dinah Jane then sings the hook with the second verse sung by Ally Brooke. Garvey of Pitchfork praised the vocal's division in the song writing that it "serves as the album's most impressive showcase of each member's solo talents." The song contains interpolation of DeBarge's "A Dream".
On the first bonus track of the album's deluxe version, "Going Nowhere" is an electronic dance music number. During the song, the group sings featuring a synth riff and synthesized handclaps. "Body Rock" contains an interpolation from "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. The song has one of more rapid tempos in the album. It features a synthesized melody and sirens around. The deluxe edition concludes with "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" featuring Meghan Trainor. also explored in previous tracks. The chorus praised several female singers such as Beyonce, Shakira, Rihanna and Madonna. The lyrics are complemented by a moderate dance beat. Lyrically, it express a message of female empowerment and positive body image.
"Boss" was released as the album's lead single on July 7, 2014, with the music video released a day later on Vevo. The song debuted at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100, with first-week sales of 75,000 copies, number 37 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart and number 75 on the Canadian Hot 100. It reached the top 40 in countries such as Spain and the United Kingdom. It was certified platinum in the United States. The accompanying music video for the song, choreographed and directed by Fatima Robinson, was released on the band's Vevo page that showed the group performing with chairs and interacting at a photo shoot and an arm wrestling contest.
"Sledgehammer" was released as the album's second single on October 28, 2014. Its music video was released on November 25, 2014 on Vevo. "Sledgehammer" debuted on the Mainstream Top 40 at number 28, and peaked at number 21 on December 25, 2014, becoming the group's highest position on the chart and surpassing their first single "Miss Movin' On". The song went on to spend three non-consecutive weeks at its peak position. On December 4, 2014, the song debuted at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100. It rose to a peak of 40 on its fifth week on the chart with week sales of 85,000, marking Fifth Harmony's best week sales as well as their highest charting single and first top 40 entry. Along with "Boss", the song was certified platinum in the United States.
"Worth It", featuring Kid Ink, was sent to contemporary hit radio in the United States, as the album's third and final single on March 3, 2015. On the chart dated February 7, 2015, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 82. On July 28, 2015 the song reached number 12 on its twenty-third week on the chart. It was the group's highest charting song at the time, but has since been surpassed by their 2016 single "Work from Home", which peaked at number four in May 2016. The song also debuted at number 37 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. It has since reached a peak of number four, becoming their first top ten song on the chart. "Worth It" also became the group's first song to debut on the Rhythmic chart. The track was certified triple platinum and became one of only twenty-two songs to be certified multi-platinum in 2015 in the United States. Elsewhere, the song peaked at number one in Israel, Lebanon and Mexico, number three in Scotland, as well as the top 20 in Australia, Canada, Belgium, South Korea, Slovakia, Germany and France, becoming the group's biggest song worldwide.
After releasing "Boss", the group released another song from the album, "We Know", during sessions for Idolator and Billboard. They performed several songs from the album before its release during Austin Mahone's Live on Tour in the summer of 2014. The new songs performed include "Reflection", "We Know" (previously released during a Billboard session) and "Going Nowhere". Fifth Harmony announced a headlining 23-date tour, The Reflection Tour, commencing on February 27, 2015. Opening acts included Jacob Whitesides, Jasmine V and Mahogany Lox.
Upon the release of Reflection, MTV aired on February 6, 2015, the "Fifth Harmony Album Release Party Presented By Covergirl" at New York's Webster Hall, where the group took the stage for a private performance, which was filmed by fans in attendance and turned into a music video, followed by an interview. Fifth Harmony appeared as guests on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live for the entire week of February 16, 2015, doing interviews and performing on the show.
|The New York Times||8/10|
Reflection was acclaimed by music critics and ended up at many mid-year and end of year lists. Writing for Time, Jamieson Cox states in a positive review that the group is "agile, and have intuitive understanding of how their differences in vocal texture and range can impact their songs by introducing surprise and tension." He continues to say that, "Reflection is certainly enjoyable on a purely musical level, but Fifth Harmony's perspective and positivity is often even more exciting." Matt Collar, from AllMusic, gave the album four out of five stars saying that it "is a slick production showcasing the group's multi voiced approach to contemporary R&B." He notes the diversity of musical genres, "from electronic-infused dance music to synthy, rhythmically bumptious hip-hop, to retro-'90s R&B," although adding that "it is very much a savvy pop product of the moment." Rick Fiorino, from Artistdirect, gave the album five out of five, saying that each song feels "massive" and has potential to be "blaring out of radios for years to come." He also adds how each of the group's "dynamic voices" fuse into "one focused pop roller coast". Fiorino ends his review by saying that Reflection establishes the group as "21st century's pop music's premier powerhouse."
Brittany Spanos, from Rolling Stone, gave the album three and a half stars out of five, calling the lyrics "infectious" and the track "Like Mariah" a standout. Jason Lipshutz, from Billboard, gave the album four out of five stars saying that "most of the songs work." He adds that the group shows "that they are capable of slick synth-pop, grungy hip-hop and fluttering R&B, the latter clearly indebted to the girl groups of the '90s." Lipshutz also compares the group's message to Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry's, noting that "the back half of Reflection is basically a misandrist constitution, with the 5H ladies brushing off lazy dudes on "Suga Mama," game-players on "We Know" and the flight-before-fight bros on "Going Nowhere." Writing for Spin, Brennan Carley gives a rating of seven out of ten, calling the album "cohesive and modern," and "self-aware fun." He highlights Meghan Trainor's work by saying that "her feel-good songwriting and female empowerment jams provide some of Reflection's highest peaks." Glenn Gamboa, from Newsday, gives the album a grade of a B (the highest being an A+), highlighting how the track "Brave, Honest, Beautiful" could be an "anthem for the group." He also complements the extended time that the album took to make, as this allowed the group "time to grow" and "plenty of resources." Gamboa finishes his review by raving on the many pop culture icon references in the album, and how the group offers a "particular brand of multicultural girl power."
Writing for Idolator, Christina Lee gives the album three and a half stars out of five, saying that Fifth Harmony "nails every song with absolute precision, as if its members had known each other for far longer than just three years since The X Factor." She also predicted that the group is "bound to move on to the next round in this pop game" with a "No. 1 single, at the very least." Rebecca Mattina, from Andpop, gave the album three and a half stars out of five, saying that "the lyrics are fun, strong and full of swagger, and their vocals are always on-point. If they can really hone in [sic] on their sound, it won't be long before they're dominating the charts." She notes that "Boss" "might just be one of the best female empowerment songs since Destiny's Child's "Independent Women"" and calls the lyrics of "Brave Honest Beautiful" "one of the group's most powerful".
|AllMusic||Best Pop Albums of 2015||No order|||
|Complex||Best Albums of 2015||
|Fact||The 50 Best Albums of 2015||
|Fuse||Top 20 Pop Albums of 2015||
|Rolling Stone||20 Best Pop Albums of 2015||
|Spin||The 25 Best Pop Albums of 2015||
|Brennan Carley's 25 Best Albums of 2015||
The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart with 80,000 equivalent album units (with 62,000 of that coming from pure album sales), becoming their second release to debut inside the top-ten since their first extended play, Better Together. It's steady performance within the top fifty since its release earned them a spot in the end of year charts at number 48. On December 12, 2017, the album was certified Platinum in the United States for combined sales and streaming-equivalent units of 1,000,000 units, after the Recording Industry Association of America introduced streams in their certification criteria. As of December 2017, the album has sold 1,036,000 album-equivalent units in the United States.
Outside of the United States, Reflection made an appearance in Canada, where it charted at number eight, becoming the group's first top ten entry there as well as countries such as Canada, Brazil and New Zealand. In Europe, the album entered in the top twenty of both the United Kingdom and Scotland, charting at 18 and 19 respectively. It also charted within the top thirty of five other countries. Reflection charted at number 16 in Australia, giving Fifth Harmony their second top twenty entry in Oceania after New Zealand. Elsewhere, the album made appearances within the top thirty of five other countries.
|Reflection – Standard edition|
|4.||"Worth It" (featuring Kid Ink)||
|5.||"This is How We Roll"||
|7.||"Like Mariah" (featuring Tyga)||
|8.||"Them Girls Be Like"||
|Reflection – Deluxe edition|
|14.||"Brave Honest Beautiful" (featuring Meghan Trainor)||3:28|
|Reflection - Google Play Exclusive|
|15.||"I'm in Love with a Monster (from Hotel Transylvania 2)"||
|16.||"Worth It (Dame Esta Noche)"||
|Reflection - Japan Deluxe Edition|
|15.||"Don't Wanna Dance Alone"||
|16.||"Miss Movin' On"||
|18.||"Who Are You"||Bunetta||3:56|
|19.||"Leave My Heart Out of This"||
|20.||"Me & My Girls"||
|21.||"I'm in Love with a Monster"||
|22.||"Miss Movin' On (Papercha$er Remix)"||
- "Like Mariah" contains elements of the composition "Always Be My Baby", written by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal, Jr., performed by Mariah Carey.
- "We Know" contains a portion of the composition "A Dream", written by Bunny DeBarge, performed by DeBarge.
- "Body Rock" contains an interpolation from "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", written by John DeNicola, Donald Markowitz and Franke Previte, performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
- "Brave Honest Beautiful" contains a portion of the composition "Bootylicious", written by Rob Fusari, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelendria Rowland, Falonte Moore and Stevie Nicks, performed by Destiny's Child
Credits for Reflection adapted from AllMusic.
Visuals and imagery
- Nate Alford – engineer
- Mike Anderson – engineer
- Henrique Andrade – assistant
- Tommy Brown – production
- Julian Bunetta – mixing, programming, engineer
- Cirkut – production, programming
- Maddox Chhim – assistant
- Daylight – engineer, production, programming
- The Family – production
- Rachael Findlen – assistant
- Chris "Flict" Aparri – production
- Serban Ghenea – mixing
- Clint Gibbs – engineer
- Bradford H. Smith – assistant
- John Hanes – mixing
- Andrew Hey – engineer
- Jean-Marie Horvat – mixing
- Jonas Jeberg – engineer
- Jonas Jeberg – production, vocal production
- Jaycen Joshua – mixing
- Samuel Kalandjian – mixing, engineer
- Ori Kaplan – production
- Ryan Kaul – assistant
- Daniel Kyriakides – engineer
- Matt Larson – assistant
- Aldo Lehman – engineer
- Joe London – engineer, production, programming
- Dr. Luke – production, programming
- Harvey Mason, Jr. – vocal production
- Tim McClain – assistant
- Victoria Monét – vocal production
- Cameron Montgomery – assistant
- Mikkel S. Eriksen – engineer
- Stargate – production
- Tommy Parker – vocal production
- Taylor Parks – vocal production
- T-Collar – production, engineer
- J.R. Rotem – production
- Ricky Reed – engineer, production, programming
- Benjamin Rice – engineer
- Irene Richter – production coordination
- Deon Sanders – production
- Travis Sayles – production
- Christopher Trujillo – engineer
- Miles Walker – engineer
- Brandon Wood – assistant
- Daniel Zaidenstadt – engineer
|Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)||3× Platinum||120,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||40,000*|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
|Netherlands||January 30, 2015||
|Canada||February 3, 2015|||
|United Kingdom||July 10, 2015|||
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- The Netherland release of Reflection:
- "iTunes – Muziek – Reflection van Fifth Harmony". The Netherlands: iTunes. January 30, 2015.
- "iTunes – Muziek – Reflection (Deluxe) van Fifth Harmony". The Netherlands: iTunes. January 30, 2015.
- Canadian release of Reflection:
- "Reflection: Fifth Harmony: Amazon.ca: Music". Canada: Amazon.com. February 3, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "Reflection (Deluxe Version): Fifth Harmony: Amazon.ca: Music". Canada: Amazon.com. February 3, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- UK release of Reflection: