This is the second album I've heard from Doja Cat, the first one being Planet Her. I must say my expectations towards this album weren't very high. The singles were a hell of a mixed bag for me, so I didn't really expect this album to be the next TPAB. And well, although it's an improvement from Planet Her, it's kind of a mess.
Doja herself promoted this album in her twitter page quite a bit, but in some very odd ways. Calling her fans idiots, saying that all the music she has released until this album is pure trash. She also stated that this album is basically the one that represents her the most, and her full artistic vision.
If this is Doja's full artistic vision, it's not an extremely intriguing one sadly. While it does explore some unfamiliar territories for her, it can be also surprisingly uninspired and dull. I think there is some potential here, for a better album in the future, but this one is pretty much the definition of a mixed bag in my opinion.
The album's production is...strange I guess. The first half consists of trap/pop rap tracks, and even some rage songs. The trap beats moved between being incredibly derivative and bland to just ok. However, the second half of the album is certainly more engaging and intriguing production-wise. It mostly consists of jazz rap/trip hop productions, which definitely works way better than the dull trap production of the first half.
The first half is boring. While there were some catchy songs that I find myself vibing with just a tiny bit, most of it was quite underwhelming. The jazzy second half is an admirable change in style, that was a breath of fresh air on the album. While it's far from being perfect, and some songs can be slightly repetitive, it's a big improvement from the first half. If Doja will continue to explore these soundscapes, and settle into them, she can deliver a more consistent project.
When it comes to Doja's performances, she's alright. I think the most admirable thing about her performances is that she genuinely sounds like she wants to prove something, show who she really is. She raps and sings with plenty of passion, and with a certain sense of urgency most of the time.
However, I'm not a big fan of the lyrics throughout the project. Doja is not a great writer. Even though sometimes she can suddenly surprise you with an amazing verse, a great majority of the lyrics can be amazingly cringe, corny and tacky. Doja mostly rapped about the criticism that people throw at her constantly, confronting the haters and standing for herself. And there are a few love songs too. But well, the subject matters got a bit tedious and boring at some point, and Doja's writing wasn't strong enough to keep me fully engaged and interested in the lyrics.
I will say that the album has its moments, and enjoyably catchy songs, like Agora Hills, Can't Wait, Fuck The Girls and Skull And Bones. However, unfortunately it also has too many dull moments such as Demons and Wet Vagina, which holds it back from being a great project for Doja.
Overall, Scarlet is undoubtedly one of the albums of the year so far. A mixed bag and a little all over the place, but I believe that if Doja will be more focused on her next album, she can deliver a very decent one.
Favorite: Good Morning, Captain
Least favorite: Demons