Doja Cat has most certainly taken the saying “all publicity is good publicity” to heart.
After publicly criticizing her fans for essentially just being her fans, the pop singer and rapper built up quite the anticipation for the release of her new 17 track digital deluxe album, Scarlet, which dropped on Friday.
Doja’s attacks on her supporters, such as telling those who adopted “Kittenz” as the Doja Cat fandom name, “you need to get off your phone and get a job and help your parents,” caused her to lose a great number of fans. I expected Doja would serve us an electric, passionate album to prove herself still worthy of adoration, but unfortunately, Scarlet did not deliver.
The album kicks off with “Paint the Town Red,” the only song on the album I liked every aspect of. The lyrics are simple but catchy as Doja asserts her confidence despite negative social media claims. The track establishes Doja’s role as a rebel, and a sample from Dionne Warwick’s 1964 classic “Walk On By” makes for a near-perfect beat. 9/10.
This is your warning: it goes downhill from here.
Next up we have “Demons.” The beat had potential, but the lyrics absolutely kill the song’s quality. Doja rapping, “We are enemies / we are foes / who are you / and what are those / you are gross,” makes me think of an irritating child trying to insult their older sibling. 4/10.
“Wet Vagina,” the next track, is only slightly better. Doja’s autotuned and unstable vocal inflection pairs terribly with the beat. It’s as if she is trying to compensate for this issue with overly sexual lyrics. The chorus and bass were both solid, though. 5/10.
“Fuck The Girls (FTG)” and “Ouchies,” about not needing female friends and being “the G.O.A.T., respectively,” surprised me with classic drumbeats and more rhythmic flows. I especially liked how Doja tries different ways to use her voice, but the bass overshadows her vocals slightly. Both are a 6/10.
Tracks six, seven and eight, “97,” “Gun” and “Go Off,” blur together. The tunes are perfunctory and do not present any kind of a climax. “97” and “Go Off” get a 4/10. “Gun” gets a 5/10 – point for vocals.
“Shutcho,” another self-confidence anthem, is a big step up from the previous three tracks. The background vocals are superb and it features both a pleasant melody and powerful verses. 6/10.
“Agora Hills,” a track highlighting Doja’s desire to show off her man, pranks listeners with a slow intro before crescendoing. Also, it’s definitely inspired by SZA. 7/10.
The 11th track, “Can’t Wait,” is the only song I completely like other than “Paint the Town Red.” The old-fashioned drumbeat and vocals seal the deal, and this tune has more of a story behind the lyrics as Doja expresses unconditional love towards her man. 8/10.
The rest of the album, tracks 12 through 17, was also underwhelming.
“Often” has an interesting hippie vibe to it, but is unimaginative and dull. I felt like I was listening to something made on GarageBand. 3/10.
“Love Life,” “Skull And Bones” and “Balut” are just as boring. I couldn’t even tell you what they’re about. The snaps in “Skull and Bones” are cool, I suppose. 4/10 for all.
“Attention” is slightly more immersive. I am a fan of the intro and classical backing track. There’s just a lot going on. The song features a variety of instruments and different vocal inflections from Doja. Not awful, but it doesn’t deserve the hype it has received. 5/10.
“WYM Freestyle,” the album’s last track, is simply terrible. It is about what I expected from a random Doja freestyle, a substandard beat with worse, nonsensical lyrics. 2/10.
It’s clear Scarlet is meant to be Doja’s hard transition from pop music to rap. I admire how she asserts her confidence in her music career throughout the album, but mediocre lyrics and boring beats fail to accomplish this. I hope to see Doja’s pop era again soon. Overall rating: 5/10.