Album Review: Doja Cat – Planet Her

Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini more commonly known by her stage name, Doja Cat is a singer/songwriter, musician and rap artist from Los Angeles. She began making music early in life, and was discovered by Kemosabe Records and RCA Records who jointly signed her for a record deal at the age of 17. Now full disclosure, I’ve been aware of Doja Cat for a few years now, and I genuinely enjoy her music, I wouldn’t be reviewing her otherwise, but what specifically prompted me to review it today was that Doja Cat was recently announced as a DLC exclusive character due to be introduced to House Party, an adult comedy dating sim developed and published by Eek! Games, LLC. I’ve recently completed all 55 achievements in the game and I’m planning on doing my own review of it now that I’ve played it for approximately 80 hours, so in doing research for that post I decided why not share some love for Doja Cat and that’s where we are now. So today, I’ll be reviewing her album ‘Planet Her’ which was released on June 25th 2021. 

‘Woman’ opens with a smooth percussive beat, electronic infused rhythms flowing into the catchy vocals. And this is easily one of those tracks that’ll get stuck in your head, it’s just got a nice vibe to it, and a strong hook, not to mention Doja Cat has a really strong voice, melodic but not overwhelmed by a heavy beat behind it. I also liked the blend between singing and rap, speaking of which, she’s got a great flow and delivery to her rap, it’s really impressive. 

‘Naked’ kicks off again with a percussive beat but one that evokes an entirely different vibe, also I liked Doja Cat’s almost whispered vocals as the track opens up. This has a really heavy rhythm to it, but again it’s really catchy and gives Doja a chance to really test her skills. I love that it doesn’t sound overly homogenous, it’s a song composed of equally strong sections which work really well together. I like that it doesn’t have an overly cacophonous or complex backing track, I feel some artists do that and it detracts from the overall music, but Doja avoids this finding a nice balance between something that creates a nice beat but isn’t overloading the track as a whole. 

‘Payday (ft. Young Thug)’ opens softer than the previous two tracks, an acoustic, electronic guitar leads us in, it’s all ambient and synth, which leads into Doja’s vocals, her voice higher and softer, with breakdowns in between where she delivers lines with more weight and vocal depth, the effect is overall very cool. I think Young Thug’s voice compliments and mirrors Doja’s really well, the balance and intermix between the two artists really added to the track. 

‘Get Into It (Yuh)’ has a quirky little electronic horn infused intro that bleeds into a heavier, percussive beat driven melody. I really like the energy of this track, it’s funny and has an almost confrontational energy to it which really works. I haven’t mentioned it so far but I think what I like most about Doja’s music other than the clever rap lines and strong flow is that you get a real feel for her personality, the esoteric nature and offbeat energy, and how her music exists in a strong middle ground between being polished and raw. 

‘Need to Know’ opens with a building sequence of notes, creating a unique melody. It’s very different from the past couple of songs off the bat, it’s also the song I’d heard most before sitting down to write this review. It’s a strong track, catchy and memorable and you really get to enjoy Doja’s voice in this, and her rap style, which is harder, and harsher and very distinct from her singing sections.

‘I Don’t Do Drugs (ft. Ariana Grande)’ has a sort of distorted melody that flows into the vocals well, and much like with Young Thug, Grande and Doja’s vocals gel really well, distinct enough that with the exception of harmonies you can tell who’s singing but still complimentary enough that they collaborate really well. Doja does most of the vocal work though, while Grande fills in the track with the sweetness of her angelic voice. That being said, she still has some standout sections in the performance.

‘Love to Dream’ keeps to a similar vibe as the previous track, and really allows Doja a chance to shine vocally. I’ve touched on in previous entries that she is very skillful in both her rap and singing sections, and balances the pair well, but in this track she really takes a deep dive, showcasing her sensational, soulful voice and giving us a peak at her range as a vocalist. I enjoyed the entire album, but I think this is my personal favourite. 

‘You Right (with The Weeknd)’ has a heavier feel, slow and weighty and building, and it kicks off with a fast paced rap style free flow by Doja which counterpoints the slow building backing melody really well. I previously talked about The Weeknd, in my review of his collab with Post Malone, which you can check out here. He is consistently impressive, especially here as he really adds a lot to this track, his voice, rich and smooth and a perfect partner to Doja. 

‘Been Like This’ has an almost haunting edge to it, a distorted vocal section, backed by a building, deep almost ominous instrumental backing, all to create a track that is very powerful with an unsettling note that keeps it in your head. None of that by any means is a negative thing by the way, firstly because I have to assume that feel was the intention but also because it’s still a really strong track, with a tight beat throughout, and it’s certainly a song I’ll be revisiting in the future. 

“Options” (ft. JID)’ changes things up again, electronic horns playing, mixed with a harder, percussive beat, and another superb rap number. I really like the way Doja composes her lyrics, only beaten by her sharp, passionate delivery. Also, each featured artist has been a really strong addition to their respective track, particularly Ariane Grande, but I think JID has been my favourite. It’s hard to place why because there are better tracks, but I think I just really like his voice. 

‘Ain’t Shit’ keeps us guessing, a jarring melody leads us in, and it’s got a very confrontational vibe to it, but it’s also one that really gets trapped in your head. I like the melody, and much as I touched on when discussing ‘Get Into It (Yuh)’ you really get a feel for Doja’s personality, the slightly absurdness, the confidence, it all sort of works and you get genuinely excellent tracks like this. I mentioned that ‘Don’t Do Drugs’ is my personal favourite on the album, but this track is an extremely close second. 

‘Imagine’ has a really cool intro, it sort of reminds me of the sound you get from a mandolin, but obviously electronic driven. It’s funny, and the same melody is blended throughout even as the track becomes more about the bass and percussive beats. Overall a very good track, with a catchy hook, and some pretty heavy ambient melody. 

‘Alone’ opens with guitars, softly and gently leading us in, even as a heavier beat is layered over the top. This is another track where you really get to be impressed by Doja’s vocals, she doesn’t need to hide behind gimmicks or synth or whatnot, instead she has a genuinely pure and powerful voice that makes these tracks so worth listening to. 

‘Kiss Me More (ft. SZA)’ finishes things up nicely, another outlier, an interesting melody and some truly beautiful vocal sections, but it’s also super catchy, and it’s another I heard a whole bunch before sitting down to write this review. 

So that’s what I thought of Doja Cat’s album ‘Planet Her’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. While you’re at it, make sure and check out their website, and support the artist by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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