Normani – Dopamine

Normani is an artist brimming with confidence, knowing what she wants and going all out to get it. 

Label: Columbia Records UK
Released: 14th June 2024

It’s been six years since Fifth Harmony split. Since then, Normani has teased fans with collabs and singles, but has left us asking ‘Where’s the damn album?’. Well that can now be answered, with Normani’s debut ‘Dopamine’ finally here. The next question is the most important one, though: is the album worth the wait?

The short answer is yes. It’s an album full of bravado, mixing together classic 00s R&B swagger, late 2010s SoundCloud adlibs, more modern drill beats, and a massive helping of talent. From the minute opening track ‘Big Boy’ kicks in, it’s clear that Normani is an artist brimming with confidence, knowing what she wants and going all out to get it. 

All the classic R&B themes and tricks are on display, most clearly in the effortlessly sexy duo ‘All Yours’ and ‘Lights On’ and materialistic lead single ‘Candy Paint’, but she nonetheless makes them her own. The metalcore guitar riff in toxic love song ‘Insomnia’, breathy vocal layering in ‘1:59 (ft. Gunna)’, and disco-funk vibes of ‘Take My Time’ elevate this from just another ‘Dangerously In Love’ remake into a record that is full of detail, desire, and daring.

The best moments on the album are the dark, brooding ones. ‘Tantrums’ sees Normani shed her skin and outgrow a man who’s not worth her time, before the album culminates in baddie anthem ‘Wild Side’ with the one-and-only Cardi B. 

On ‘Still’, she calls herself a ‘pop star diva’. Off the strength of this record, she’s doing herself down. In what’s already a super exciting time for female R&B and rap, Normani has raised the bar even further. Game on.

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