Ava Max – Heaven & Hell
Ava Max’s debut album Heaven & Hell is a culmination of her growth and the evolution of her sound so far. It’s serious in some parts, but maintains upbeat melodies to keep listeners invested in the tracks. Sometimes it’s typical and average; it exhibits a series of songs with varying quality all carrying similar themes. Still, there are a few standout tracks which highlight the potential in Max’s musical versatility and creativity.
H.E.A.V.E.N. opens with keyboard reverb and synth. It’s a mild introduction, but the composition is tight and tense. Kings & Queens echoes Bonnie Tyler’s If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) in terms of themes, but it’s a little more reminiscent of Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name in execution. Lyrically fun and vibrant, it has darker notes brought by the heavy electric guitar. A little more revenge pop than dance, this could act as a foil to Bon Jovi’s song.
The latest single OMG What’s Happening has summery composition that accompanies monotone vocals. This clashes against her sharp and shrill lyrics, which results in the tone becoming a little confused. This problem recurs throughout the rest of the album. Sometimes her lyrics are seductive, but the vocals aren’t exciting; at other times the melody is encouraging and upbeat, but the delivery is bored and tired.
On the other hand, Born to the Night is a pleasant and memorable track. The rhythm steadily thrums open as it approaches the chorus. The production is soothing and showcases the vibrancy of both the lyrics and Max’s vocals, creating layers and layers of wonder in her multifaceted delivery. Take You to Hell is different in tone but carries the same quality. It’s cynical, hysterical and indulges in self-satisfaction, with a hint of dark funk added to alternative pop. The chorus is a little underwhelming, but the verses are intoxicating, the lyrics’ effect heightened by the vocal stylistics and the sinister edge of the production.
Sweet But Psycho makes sense as the closer. It wraps the album up nicely and marks Max’s signature sound and lyricism. It outlines that confused tone of dark but upbeat that runs all throughout the album. Aside from some of the few other standout tracks, the rest of the record is mediocre. It lacks a little bit of depth and is often shy of taking risks.
Photo: Lauren Dunn
Heaven & Hell is released on 18th September 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Ava Max’s website here.
Watch the video for OMG What’s Happening here: