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Doja Cat’s ‘Planet Her’ suffers sophomore slump, but SZA collab is a highlight

UPDATED: Thu., July 22, 2021

Doja Cat performs at the Billboard Music Awards on May 21 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The awards show aired on May 23 with live and prerecorded segments.  (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Doja Cat performs at the Billboard Music Awards on May 21 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The awards show aired on May 23 with live and prerecorded segments. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
By Sophia McFarland The Spokesman-Review

Despite utter media domination, Doja Cat’s sophomore album, “Planet Her,” failed to reach the bar set by “Hot Pink.” Doja’s 2019 album, “Hot Pink,” was a massive success. Hits like “Say So,” “Like That” and “Streets” solidified her reign as a pop princess.

The introduction of TikTok played a vital role in this initial success, as practically all songs from “Hot Pink” served as sounds for choreography, comedy bits and singing challenges. “Planet Her,” however, is a strange, nasally sounding record, yet managed to debut strongly on June 25.

  • The album spent the last three weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 as “Need to Know” and “Ain’t Sht” started TikTok trends. Without TikTok, the album would likely have made little chart impact.

If you decide to listen to “Planet Her” in track list order, you’ll first hear “Woman,” “Naked” “Payday” and “Get Into It.” These four opening anthems lack well-written lyrics or melodies. In fact, they all sound similar.

Track 5 provides long-awaited musical diversity in “Need to Know.” The bass pulses as Doja Cat finally gives listeners a change in pace. Ariana Grande is one of the best pop singers around, but her highly anticipated collaboration with Doja fell short of standards Grande sets.

Grande collaborated on “Problem,” “Save Your Tears” and other new classics, but Doja Cat and Grande’s “I Don’t Do Drugs” will fail to make any GOAT collab list. Although the artists’ referencing each other in verses is captivating, the remaining lyrics can’t persuade you to not skip the song.

Doja Cat included five collaborations on “Planet Her,” and while “I Don’t Do Drugs,” “Options,” “Payday” and “You Right” were largely underwhelming, “Kiss Me More” (featuring SZA) is the best song on the album.

Fans of SZA begged the R&B star for a second album after “Ctrl” debuted in 2017. SZA’s incredible range and smooth tone are gifts to anyone with whom she collaborates, including Doja Cat. “Kiss Me More” was the perfect lead single to the album.

The colorful aesthetics and radio-friendly melody led to an outbreak in TikTok trends. TikTok’ers adopted “Kiss Me More” to post themselves before and after completing makeup, and the single reached No. 3. on Billboard.

The remaining tracks on “Planet Her” are repetitive, and Doja Cat ventures far from her comfortable sound – and not in a good way. But what we see in the few catchy tunes is diversity. Each popular song adds something new to the album, while the remaining tracks sound similar.

Ain’t Sht” is the sole breakup anthem on the album, as Doja Cat curses men who “can’t pay rent” but are “all up in your fridge.” This song is refreshing because it adds an element unlike what “Planet Her” previously offered.

“Planet Her” produced some high-grade songs, but would the album top charts if TikTok wasn’t anticipating and creating content for Doja Cat’s every release?

Doja Cat’s discography fits well with the TikTok algorithm, as her music can match all content. However, “Planet Her” does nothing to prove that Doja Cat can achieve greatness without the constant following of social media.

Sophia McFarland is a high school summer intern. She begins her junior year at Gonzaga Prep in the fall.

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