Bebe Rexha’s debut studio album, All Your Fault: Pt. 1, is short, semi-sweet, and to the point. In only six songs, the pop singer-songwriter and record producer sings about every clichéd theme concerning love. But her musical misstep is somewhat redeemed by the album’s unique rhythms and sound.
Considering the way Rexha has with crafting hit singles, this should come as no surprise. She has been dubbed the brains behind many top-40 favorites—she has written and/or produced music for artists such as Rihanna, David Guetta, Selena Gomez, and Tinashe. Unsurprisingly, she takes that same approach when she writes for herself.
“Writing songs for my album is just like writing songs for other artists,” Rexha said in an interview with iHeartRadio. “I think when I did, whoever I might have written for, I always kind of write songs based on what I’m feeling like. I never think of the artist.”
The small number of tracks and title of the album indicate that Rexha is just getting started—All Your Fault, Pt. 2 is set to drop in April 2017. Rexha decided to split the album into two parts because, wary of today’s streaming culture, she wanted to ensure that she was in control of when and how audiences are listening to her music. But, since the full album will be released this summer, Rexha may be using this as a marketing ploy to drag out the release and inherently force listeners to talk about her all spring
Either way, the music must speak for itself—and it sends messages loud and clear. The first track, “Atmosphere,” is a tongue-twisting pop song that takes a stab at slight hip-hop. Rexha discusses desperately trying to change the mind of an unrequited love singing, “There isn’t enough love in the atmosphere / To keep you here.” The song slows down by the chorus and, ultimately, struggles not to sound like her other tracks—on and off the album.
The album’s second track, “I Got You,” is one that listeners must have heard before as it was released on Oct. 28, 2016 as the lead single off this album. The song reinforces the idea that she’ll do anything for the person she loves while culminating in a slow building rhythm that explodes into a dance anthem.
The star of the album is the third song, “Small Doses.” Opening with a Celtic rhythm, the sound is scenic and ethereal, fitting for her silky and emotional voice. The song is a slow-burner that relishes in setting a tone for the lyrics which explore the deadly depths of a toxic relationship and grappling with the difficulty of finding yourself when you’re lost in someone else. Rexha sings, “I can only take you in small doses, small doses / Loving you, it’s explosive, you know this.”
Rexha collaborates with rapper G-Eazy on “F.F.F.,” which stands for “F—k Fake Friends.” The track discusses one of the unfortunate byproducts of fame: befriending people who turn out to use you and exploit your friendship. Both artists make sure to show that they appreciate their success and are not ungrateful for their fame, but want to stick a middle finger to those that try to rain on their parade.
The album’s fifth song, “Gateway Drug,” is mildly rhythmed and delves in the idea of love as a drug. This tired trope is one that can’t be ignored and is almost off-putting considering the amount of play it has gotten (see Kesha’s “Your Love is My Drug,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Addicted,” etc. upon etc. upon etc. till the beginning of time). Somehow, the song’s beat is interesting enough to make it moderately pleasurable to listen to.
The album’s final song, “Bad Bitch ft. Ty Dolla $ign,” is a disappointment. The plot revolves around Rexha daring her lover, now that he has won the chase and caught her, to actually see if he can keep up with her. Amid sexual undertones, Rexha sings, “You want a bad bitch, baby, now you have it / Now you got a bad bitch, show me you can handle this.” There is no lyrical genius here and no redeeming rhythm.
Rexha knows a thing or two about securing a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—for herself as well as other artists. Her solo single “Can’t Stop Drinking About You” and her collaboration with Zedd in “In the Name of Love” both proved that she has the potential to become a household name. But she seems to be stuck, struggling to reach the greatness she seeks. Hopefully the second part of this album will be the better half.
Featured Image By Warner Bros.