30 sep 2021

Is Doja Cat’s music too frivolous?

With her third studio album, the American pop star flirts with all genres – rap, R’n’B, pop, afrobeat and dancehall – with great ease but without ever taking risks…

Doja Cat’s radiance is matched only by her ability to flirt with all genres, bringing together both trap and screeching pop lovers à la Rita Ora. She had already done it with Hot Pink In 2019, she proved it again with Planet Her, his third album released on Friday, June 25 by RCA Records. Highly anticipated, this opus has been teased by the singer for a few months, from social networks to video releases, including appearances as headliners of several festivals. First there was the release of Kiss Me More, A first single To the air of a summer hit that is already flooding the most mainstream radios as well as the playlists of music critics. Then the surprise caused by the video of Need To Know, a kind of tribute by the artist spotted thanks to TikTok to science fiction and new technologies, and,  more recently,  the unveiling of a cover signed by superstar photographer David LaChapelle… If it was shaping up to be a tornado in the music industry,  like the one caused earlier this year by Kali Uchis with Sin Miedo, It turns out to be a skilfully orchestrated suite of frivolous pieces, a kind of thoughtful tangle of guilty pleasures of no more than three minutes each.

Like Doja Cat, her music is sunny, unpretentious and in tune with the times. It is therefore not surprising to find, on the Planet Her, feminist stances in the lyrics (“I’m not your mommy, nigga“), Latin melodies , afrobeat, and… A love song . With Love To Dream, the young woman who cultivates a very girly and emancipated image delivers an ultra cheesy track, reminiscent of the sentimental tirades of Destiny’s Child or Mariah Carey in the 2000s. Without batting an eyelid, she goes from a very pop  album opening (the first five tracks) to a second part that tends towards the hip-hop of the 90s. Not without evoking the sensual loop of a Climax (2000) of Slum Village or the productions of Gang Starr, the title Ain’t Shit proves, through the lyrics, the great ease with which the singer alternates between rap and singing,  while with I Don’t Do Drugs, in duet with Ariana Grande, she delivers a fine example of carefree pop, reaching the high notes and using and abusing the vocoder. Proof that if Doja Cat’s music is very referenced, it oscillates between all styles without really being impregnated with a strong identity. Her strong point:  she doesn’t pretend to be serious and speaks for an artist who benefits from not reappropriating the outdated pop aesthetics of twenty years ago. And while we’d love to see Doja Cat take risks, let’s not forget that she made a name for herself thanks to A track where she proclaims to be a cow : her musical project frees itself from any injunction to seriousness and gravity.


Planet Her
 (2021) by Dojat Cat [Kemosable Records/RCA Records], available.