Sunday, May 10, 2015

I Don't Wanna Grow Up | Bebe Rexha


★★★★☆

The words of American singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha have been heard multiple times in the past few years, yet nobody even knew her name. While she hasn't been in the industry for long, the 25-year-old musician has penned a few recognizable tracks, including Eminem and Rihanna's number-one hit, "The Monster." This year, however, she is making her own voice heard.

Her debut extended play, I Don't Wanna Grow Up, introduces listeners to a promising pop star that can exude ranges of both confidence and vulnerability. Rexha's high-pitched, bratty tone would have put her in high demand in the late '90s and early '00s bubblegum pop scene, but her explosive synthpop pieces are also perfect fits for those vocals.

"I'm Gonna Show You Crazy" blossoms from somber verses into overwhelming choruses as Rexha shouts, "Yeah, I'm gonna show you / Loco, maniac, sick bitch, psychopath / Yeah, I'm gonna show you / Mental, out my brain, bat shit, go insane / Yeah, I'm gonna show you." Her debut single, "I Can't Stop Drinking About You," also contains sudden chorus crescendos, but opts for an electronic dance build-up/breakdown format instead.

Rexha brings down the house on "Pray," which includes hints of gospel music when a call-and-response method is put into motion with a makeshift choir. "I'm on my knees, begging pretty please / I'm so love-drunk, stupid off these memories / The sun came up, and I can't believe you're over me / I swear to god, I swear to god, I swear to god," Rexha roars throughout the song.

Despite the fact that she thrives on her high-energy pieces, Rexha also opens up on the heartfelt power ballads "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" and "Sweet Beginnings." On the title track, a lovestruck Rexha embraces ignorance as she sings, "If love is a lie, then please don't ever tell me the truth / 'Cause nothing, nothing makes me feel like you do, even though I see through you." Meanwhile, on the slow-burning "Sweet Beginnings," she compares love to multiple contradictions: "It's like choking on a LifeSaver / Like a firehouse burning to the ground," "It's like you're allergic to your medication / It's like dying in your living room." 

With just a five-track extended play, Rexha proves to be an incredible talent with an aim for contemporary hit radio. Sonically, Rexha closely resembles Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo, and now it's just a matter of time until she hits a sudden radio success, just as Lo did with "Habits (Stay High)." She has the lyrics, the voice, and the image; all she needs now is a full-length debut to completely blow listeners away.

I Don't Wanna Grow Up will be released on May 12, 2015 under Warner Bros. Records.

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