• Pigeon Montes

Ava Max - Heaven & Hell: Review

Pop music has never been rudimentary and the disastrous sounds that come from it is always from the lesser playing mirror mirror. It has so many ways to be innovative and fresh, but most of the time it just feels derivative. Ava Max, however, had the roller coaster going backwards. Her standout and most notable single “Sweet, but Psycho,” was bombastic and catchy with a gloriously simple instrumental.

Her debut, Heaven & Hell, doesn’t necessarily take that ambitious approach of a matured psycho teenage girl inside a 26 year old’s body past its limits.

As the album begins to tread through the first third there was a lot of fun and unique instrumentals and writing. Ava Max brings her all through tracks like “Kings & Queens,” and “Naked.” The latter being this great dream-pop with lush instrumental and rhythmic melodies from Ava Max.

Unfortunately after that the roller coaster is not fun. There are two times it goes up, but the plummets are definitely not fun. Those rising moments come from the in-you-face demeanor of “Who’s Laughing Now,” and “Sweet but Psycho.” The latter of which brought Ava Max to new heights with its hypnotic chorus and luminous instrumental.

The plummets has the album delivering basic and redundant sounds. It’s been done before and better, but there is nothing to make up for it as Ava Max really takes on the persona and writes like a 16 year old. Like a very horny crazy 16 year old who got dumped by her BF of 2 months and she was in love with him. Like on “Rumors,” where she talks about the neglect she has for the talks of his other beau and how she was better. It’s repetitive hook worsens the already thin writing.

It’s puzzling that her own persona has always been placed as a dual personality like she arranged the idea of DID for her music. Her two halves are crazy and a love sick sad puppy with philosophical ideas that she took from, possibly after one class of philosophy that was eventually dropped. It is present in every aesthetic of the album, but she doesn’t deliver on that front because listening to this was mostly hell and there was no heaven.

Ava Max’s debut Heaven & Hell has so much that is least to be desired that it becomes a major disappointment. There are high moments where it shows she has the right direction, but for the most part it feels like reading a high school diary and… we all know where that leads. The pitfall to hell where most of this album belongs.


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