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“Scarlet” Review

Scarlet+Review

Released on Sept. 22, 2023, “Scarlet” is Doja Cat’s fourth studio album. Preceding her best-selling album to date “Planet Her,” the album serves as a departure from her traditional bubble gum pop route. Feeling disillusioned with pop music and frustrated by her critics questioning her identity as a rapper, Doja Cat found inspiration to pursue a “masculine” direction for her next musical endeavor. The album is composed of four singles: “Attention”, “Paint the Town Red ”, “Demons” and “Balut”. The album consists of seventeen tracks in total and runs just over 51 minutes.

“Scarlet” has been marked by a series of explosive controversies this year, beginning with her dismissing her two best-selling albums as mere “cash grabs,” causing conflict with her dedicated fanbase. As time passed, tensions further escalated as she criticized her fans for creating a fandom name, defended her alleged abuser boyfriend, J. Cyrus, and leaned into a more scandalous image with the lead single of “Scarlet.”

The album’s producers, notably Earl on the Beat, encouraged a more mainstream-focused approach, toning down Doja’s distinctive style. There are a few surprises in terms of production, such as “Skull And Bones” and “97.”

Unlike her previous work(s) most notably “Planet Her,” which had seismic hooks and high-profile features from the likes of Young Thug, SZA, and Ariana Grande. “Scarlet” leans heavily towards hip-hop, which is to be expected because she stated that she was “done with pop.” However, the album lacks the sharp swings in mood and genre that are typical of Doja’s best music. While she proves herself as a competent emcee, the conventional rap mold stifles her creativity with a lot of the lyrics on this album.

However, Doja shines with her unhinged performances like “Ouchies” and “97,” and even some of her more controversial songs like “Demons” and “Paint the Town Red” have a certain flair to them despite the poor wordplay with some of the lines on both tracks. “Agoura Hills” has a chorus that’s an earworm, with the Lofi sample sounds throughout the track, it sounds so good with the auto-tune.

While “Often,” “Love Life.” and “Attention,” especially, I find to be uninteresting, bland, and boring. I can still appreciate the storytelling and artistic prowess of the tracks. But seriously though, it’s ironic that a track called “Attention” is part of the least attention-grabbing songs in her career

“F**K The Girls” (FTG), “Skull And Bones” and “Balut” are all great examples of Doja Cat’s genius and creativity. She delivers some bars in this album and although I’m not a fan of every single verse she delivers and think that she should rethink some of the lyrical content in some of these songs. The album isn’t nearly as “basic” or “confused” as critics and some people make it out to be.

I would say it is not the best album in Doja Cat’s discography, mostly due to personal preference.But it’s not the worst either, it has a few blemishes mostly with the lyrical content and some of the tones and shifts she takes. However, it also has lots of bright spots. If Doja Cat truly wants to distance herself from her pop roots and transform herself into a more rap-focused artist, she has to start somewhere– this is her start.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Carter, Journalist
Jonathan Carter is a Junior at Community. This is his first semester of doing journalism and he is ecstatic to be a part of the Communicator staff. When he’s not at school or work, you can find him at a local coffee shop relaxing with a good book. He enjoys babysitting, technology and watching movies. Jonathan is so excited to be a part of the Communicator staff because he loves connecting to those in the community and writing.

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