Album: Rita Ora, Ora Roc Nation (Columbia)
Rita Ora may cite Gwen Stefani as her main influence, but it's hard, on the strength of Ora, to see her as anything but the UK's own Rihann-alike, thanks to the formulaic attentions of the usual studio crews – the collective noun being an Aeron of producers, I suggest – such as Stargate, Diplo, Greg Kurstin, Chase & Status and the ubiquitous will.i.am.
There's no shortage of disruptive effects – opener "Facemelt" recalls MIA's dramatic bricolage style, and Chase & Status swathe the Tinie Tempah duet "R.I.P." in grating electronic white noise – but Ora's own personality is hard to pin down amidst the romance and party-time clichés. Only on "Hello, Hi, Goodbye" does the prefabricated brash persona slip, as she lays a touchingly plaintive vocal over the shimmying groove.
Download: How We Do (Party); Hello, Hi, Goodbye
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