Bebe Rexha Bebe

Bebe Rexha Has More to Say on ‘Bebe’

Pop singer Bebe Rexha’s Bebe sounds like she has thrown some caution to the wind and made music that she genuinely enjoys. It’s also fun to listen to.

Bebe Rexha
28 April 2023

While she has amassed impressive commercial success by way of songwriting and vocal collaborations, Bebe Rexha‘s solo pop career has had to fight for its place in the mainstream. Shocking as it may be, the singer had already possessed a catalogue of her own when she achieved a number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2018 with her Florida Georgia Line collaboration “Meant to Be”. For a singer continuing to dedicate herself to EDM efforts, a country crossover achievement felt far-fetched. But so it was meant to be.

Indeed, the success of “Meant to Be” overshadowed her debut studio album Expectations, which barely cracked the top 10 in the United States despite being subdued in sonic trends that were already popular with the likes of Dua Lipa or Clean Bandit.

Rexha also proved that she was much more than a dance-pop artist who wasn’t necessarily interested in pushing the envelope; she’s never shied away from including the darker sides of her life in her work, such as loneliness and mental illness. These themes defined her sophomore effort Better Mistakes, delayed by the pandemic and disjointed in its sound, weighed down by too many guest appearances and not enough promised introspection.

Now, Rexha has shed the past almost entirely for her eponymous third studio album Bebe, which draws mainly from pop music of the 1970s and 1980s. While she enjoyed another standout collaboration with David Guetta last year in the form of “I’m Good (Blue)”, that’s included on the track listing, it doesn’t overpower her new work. Instead, the record is simultaneously a nod to the pop of days past and a life raft, finally signaling that Rexha doesn’t have to sell out to be interesting.

Bebe’s lead single, “Heart Wants What It Wants”, is her latest earworm and something different to mark the beginning of a new era, making expert use of Rexha’s raw, smoky vocals rather than over-relying on vocal manipulations for a desired output. Where guest vocals from prominent rappers like Ty Dolla Sign sounded tired on Better Mistakes, there’s no doubt any listener will be pleasantly surprised by Snoop Dogg‘s appearance on “Satellites”, a 1970s-infused love anthem. Bebe‘s other much-hyped collaboration, with Dolly Parton on “Seasons”, is sadly tainted by Parton’s shaky and unstable vocals.

The singer isn’t finished with her EDM roots, as she gives us another of those offerings in the form of “Call on Me”, a beckoning to the dancefloor. Although there isn’t much dwelling on emotional difficulties on Bebe, she’s traded it in to show what she can do with genuinely good pop songwriting and production tinged with 1980s synths and effects, such as “I’m Not High, I’m In Love” or “Blue Moon”, proving she could even be the next Blondie if she wanted to on the latter.

Rather than merely gauging interest by trying on the hats of nostalgic sounds, Rexha’s talent is on full display in her third LP. Where hers is an easy talent to get lost in the quest of chasing styles of the moment to ensure mainstream success, Bebe sounds like she has thrown some caution to the wind and made music that she genuinely enjoys. It’s also fun to listen to, which is an added bonus.

RATING 7 / 10