The fourth album out by rapper and singer Doja Cat ‘Scarlet’ was highly anticipated. As a long-time fan of Doja Cat, I couldn’t wait to see what she did after how great ‘Planet Her’ was.
I have nothing bad to say about the first three Doja Cat albums as I still listen to them in rotation to this day. The aesthetics, visuals, performances and the songs themselves associated with ‘Planet Her’ were at an all-time high, and when I finally listened to ‘Scarlet,’ it fell a bit flat.
Not only the tone of the album but also the controversies surrounding Doja Cat herself put a bad taste in listeners’ mouths when hearing the new music. Even with the argument of “separating art from the artist,” that is hard to do in this case as Doja Cat fills her art from this album to the brim of content related to people “coming for her” and facing the backlash.
That being said, here are my thoughts after a first listen to each song on ‘Scarlet’.
Paint The Town Red
As the lead single of the album and the opener, Paint The Town Red had a big job to fulfill and I feel like it accomplished that. It was a bop, reminded me of similar things off of ‘Hot Pink’ and kept a flow that I really liked.
It was really essential to building hype for the album and acted as a strong start. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Now let’s discuss a single that did not build the album’s hype. I never liked Demons when it dropped, and hearing it while listening to the album chronologically did not help.
It felt very elementary compared to Doja Cat’s other work and I wanted to bob my head to it, but couldn’t. There is a slight “baby” voice she uses in some of the verses throwing me off as well. Unfortunately, the second track is 1 out of 5 stars.
There are some good bars in this one, but overall the message was lost. It felt very bare bones compared to other songs, but all over the place at the same time. It felt like she could do so much more with this track.
Honestly, after hearing the song’s title fifty times in a row, I got bored. This is another 1 out of 5 stars.
F— The Girls (FTG)
I didn’t expect a slower start when I put this on, but the hype was brought. The production is good and matches Doja’s flow really well.
You can actually hear her energy and message in this one, plus it’s a good vibe for a workout playlist or just driving around. I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I enjoyed the beat on this track as well as it sounded like it gave homage to the 90s hip-hop greats. In other songs on the album, the ad-libs are distracting, but here, they mesh well. I would say 4 out of 5 stars.
The breathy singing in this one immediately steals my focus. And not in the best way. Her lower register will always sound the best to me on songs.
I will say, 97 is kind of forgettable in the grand scheme of things, and while I don’t hate it, I don’t plan on going out of my way to listen again. Also, the shoutout to Threads was not my favorite. 2 out of 5 stars.
The production on this track felt like Doja Cat was coming home to her sound. It was something that really sounded like her.
Honestly, there is not much else to say about this song as I feel very neutral about it, but it is one of those I would add to a playlist and listen to a lot. I would say just above 3.5 stars out of 5.
This track brings out her clever lyric ability, but the flow feels wrong for what she is trying to say here. It feels like it would fit more with a tad more speed to the beat in the verses.
Another song I feel neutral about, so I will say 3 out of 5 stars.
I heard good things about this one going in, but it did not blow me out of the park. However, it did wake me up from the fact I’ve been kind of bored throughout the album leading up to Shutcho.
This one had a few more clever bars than some of the rest as I’m still thinking about the line, “Got you cussin’ on a Sunday now.” I would hand it a 4 out of 5 stars.
The best part of this song is that it feels like it could have a Sza feature. There is an almost Valley Girl-like accent she uses that is interesting.
Overall, good flow and clever lyrics, again, where the line about Fortnite made me laugh. I enjoyed this one and would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
This is another song that seems to pay homage to the R&B and hip-hop artists that came before. Though, this one still feels sleepy, especially after following something like Agora Hills.
It definitely fades into the background, but the vocals are a nice listen and she sounds pretty. I would give it 2.5 stars out of 5.
This is the point in listening where I started to feel like there were too many songs on the album. The tracks were beginning to all blend together with nothing really new to say. As mentioned before, a lot of the lyrics discuss people “coming for her,” but it is to a point where the listener is like “I get it.”
At least the background noise here works well enough. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
The intro and the beat of the song feel like Often never ended before it. The actual bars are good though and this song feels like the first positive spin on things in the album, considering the other material. A solid 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Skull and Bones
There are some good bars in here and a good breakdown chorus that hooks a listener. But, this still doesn’t feel like the new sound Doja Cat has been on and on about online before the album’s release when it was originally titled ‘Hellmouth.’
This is funny though, because the lyrics are talking about her trying to do her own thing despite what people want from her. Again. The San Andreas line was creative, but this is 3 out of 5 stars in total.
When this single came out, I had not heard the full thing, so it pleasantly surprised me to listen now. It is understandable why this was made a single as it is one of the best songs on the album.
There is a good flow going, that iconic lyricism we praise Doja Cat for and a beat that can grab your attention. Ignore the pun. This earns a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I do not think I can ever be a fan of the baby voice Doja uses in some songs. Despite that, the Rick Flair intro to the song is good and the double meaning in the lyrics is a nice move on Doja Cat’s part. This meets a 3 out of 5 stars.
Finally! Something fresh! I feel like this is the most authentic song and of course its the album closer.
This is the best song to actually convey the message Doja Cat is trying to say for the majority of ‘Scarlet.’ It genuinely feels like a Doja Cat song, and that is one of the biggest pros. This is a 4 out of 5 stars track.