Ava Max is no stranger to the charts — she’s had three UK Top 20s in little over 18 months, and her commercial breakthrough last year with Sweet but Psycho — the final track on this album — spent four weeks at the top of the singles charts.
Her skill at creating catchy tunes is evident throughout new record Heaven & Hell. Standout tracks include OMG What’s Happening — a Gaga-esque anthem with vibey hooks and a fun spoken-word bridge — and album opener H.E.A.V.E.N, a spacey number with synths that offer a variety of exciting and fresh sounds.
However, this versatility doesn’t last, and other songs dip into manufactured pop or employ lyrical tropes. Kings & Queens aims to be a feminist anthem but falls into shallow sentiment: “To all of the queens who are fighting alone / Baby, you’re not dancing on your own”.
Similarly, So Am I (which is admittedly a rousing anthem after a few listens) lacks much in the way of nuance: “Do you ever feel like a misfit? / Everything inside you is dark and twisted / But it’s okay to be different / Cos baby, so am I”. It’s pretty basic stuff. This is a punchy and often catchy pop album that, while fun, ultimately lacks personality.