After two years of back-to-back viral TikTok hits that have given her second album Hot Pink mountains of well-deserved appreciation, Doja Cat is back with a record that relegates the majority of her intergalactic symbolism to the visuals of Planet Her alone.
Fresh off the back of the summery smash first single - and stunning sci-fi music video - with SZA on “Kiss Me More”, the rest of Planet Her is a swift U-turn into the sensual production and trademark sharp wordplay of her 2019 outing with dancehall openers “Woman” and “Naked” as welcome additions to Doja’s stylistic playbook. Second single “Need to Know” and The Weeknd collaboration “You Right” are similarly stylish tracks with the latter portraying Doja wrestling with her yearning for another man and the “Save Your Kiss” star kills it with a verse from ‘the other man’s’ perspective. Ariana Grande also impresses on “I Don’t Do Drugs” an appropriate inclusion given the shared focus on femininity and sexuality with Grande’s most recent record.
Stand-out tracks include “Get Into It (Yuh)” with twinkling quirky production and numerous viral references that pay tribute to Doja’s self-confessed ‘shit-posting’ tweets and otherwise eclectic use of social media and the widely anticipated “Ain’t Shit” which fans have been waiting for since its demo was played in early 2020 via Instagram Live. Doja’s sense of humour and cutting lyrics further onto “Been Like This” which feels more like a sister track to “Streets” from her debut, a darkly seductive song that is definitely one of the most reflective on the album.
However, Planet Her ends on a relatively standard note saved only by the inclusion of the stunning “Kiss Me More”. The closers “Imagine” and “Alone” although moving aren’t overly impressive compared to some of the earlier tracks in which Doja’s skills with the pen are so wonderfully utilised. This was an issue with Doja’s debut also, ending with songs that are currently two of Hot Pink’s least streamed tracks on Spotify (“Shine” and “Better Than Me”), using “Juicy” to stick the landing.
Overall, Planet Her is less of a sci-fi concept album and more an exploration of new genres for the star, offering up beautiful music videos and album artwork, but losing its promised intergalactic concept completely in an otherwise seductive and easy-listening record in which Doja Cat continues to impress with her wit and production.