Bebe Rexha: “Expectations” (Warner Bros. Records)

  Bebe Rexha’s debut album is good, to say the least, but what’s even better is the array of genres Rexha plays with on Expectations. Featuring artists from rap, contemporary R&B, and country — fused with her bubblegum pop — creates a piece that’s diverse in both themes and styles.

  Rexha’s message isn’t cryptic as she musically logs her struggle with fame and a seemingly perfect relationship. For her, “living in the fast lane’s getting kinda lonely,” which becomes more clear in second track, “I’m a Mess”. Though seemingly self-deprecating lyrics, Rexha claims via Twitter: “’I’m a Mess’ is about celebrating your imperfections and insecurities. Because we all got them and that’s what makes us unique and human.”

  The album picks up when Atlanta rapper, Quavo, enters the picture in “2 Souls on Fire”. A new side of Quavo is seen (well, heard) here as he experiments with singing rather than his usual ad-lib decorated rap, which is actually very pleasing to the ears (congrats Quavo!). A few tracks later, R&B artist Tory Lanez enters, bringing a darker flare to Expectations. However, this dark flare is short lived, as tearjerker “Grace” slows the album down, allowing us all to feel Rexha’s struggle with leaving the “damn good guy” she’s not in love with.

  Expectations takes a southern twist as Florida Georgia Line closes the album in “Meant to Be”, showcasing every feel-good aspect of country music. Though not uncommon, country hip-hop is still something to get used to (and yes it grows on you!). Rexha explains this track to Billboard as “something we need more than ever with all the events going on in the world,” for “people want to feel safe and like everything’s going to be OK.”

  Expectations leaves listeners with a warm fuzzy feeling, affirming that everything happens for a reason, even if you expect something else out of life.