It’s that time of year — no, I’m not talking about your Instagram feeds clogging up with pictures of palm trees and Coachella tents. The weather’s getting warmer and everyone wants to know: Which catchy, feel-good radio single is going to be “The Breakout Song of Summer 2012?” Carly Rae Jepson and “Call Me Maybe” came a little too early, and while the fresh Nicki Minaj tracks are racing up the charts, she’s no longer a newcomer. Guys, I know what “The Breakout Song of Summer 2012” is going to be, and it’s sung by a 21-year-old Kosovar-British chick named Rita Ora.
Jay-Z signed Ora to Roc Nation in 2009 and she’s been working on her debut album ever since. With extra help from superstars Will.I.Am, Drake, the-Dream, Kanye West and Stargate, let’s hope it’s worth the wait. “How We Do (Party)” is the single, and Ora already pumped up fans for the video premiere with a VEVO teaser.
The track, which has a familiar chorus borrowed from Notorious B.I.G.’s “Party and Bullshit,” sounds sweet like pop candy, until you realize there’s a big ol’ “Explicit” stamp on there. The Miley Cyrus/Biggie mashup this is not. Ora wants to “party and bullshit,” and she gets that “drunk sex feeling” when she’s with you. The addictive hook and crowd chatter make “How We Do (Party)” sound like it’s coming from the progeny of a Katy Perry/Jessie J one night stand. A little bit of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” and a little bit of “Domino.” Do you hear it?
Ora took the stage at Cartier’s “New York City in the 70s” Exhibition Preview after-party last Thursday, April 12. After hearing her live cover of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” it’s hard to believe that she’s the same voice behind “How We Do (Party).” While her upcoming single has pretty simple vocals, Ora proves here that she’s got a nice set of pipes. No wonder she cites Beyonce as a major influence and mentor. Other heroes on the list include Gwen Stefani, Brandy, Monica, Aretha Franklin and … Bruce Springsteen. Color me confused. While the masses are hailing her as “the next Rihanna” (note the caramel skin and bleach blonde hair, similar to RiRi’s Tina Turner-esque look at this year’s Grammy Awards), I think we should let Rita ride and come into her own. You with me?
Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.