Doja Cat’s highly anticipated fourth studio album “Scarlet” was released Friday, Sept. 22, after declaring she was done making music in March 2022.
This record begins with her single “Paint The Town Red,” released earlier this summer. It is a fun and upbeat track that features background vocals from Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By.” It’s a great start to this project as Doja essentially recaps all the backlash she has received in recent years. Regardless, she will still paint the town red with her music.
We are met again with another single that Doja put out before the release of the project, “Demons.” This wasn’t one of my favorites. Doja flexes on the haters who have doubted her in the past and brags about some of her recent accomplishments. This track has an aggressive tone and the chorus features distorted vocals to match it. I felt like the beat was unfitting for this song and didn’t match her flow.
“Wet V*gina” follows the same premise as the previous song and is honestly the only other low on this record. The vibe isn’t as aggressive but has a similar confident message. This track is ruined with the over-the-top distortion and overbearing autotune. This seems to be an experimental track for Doja as she plays around with new flows.
“F*ck the Girls (FTG),” is a track all about women being pitted against each other in the industry. Doja plays off this idea by declaring she is one of the greatest female artists without even trying. This is the first track we really start to see Doja’s rapping capabilities in full force.
“Ouchies” contains background vocals and a remixed beat of American rapper Luke’s 1994 hit, “Come On.” This gives it a funky vibe that suits Doja’s rapping very well. She even gives a couple of nods to Kanye West on this track. Like Kanye, Doja played around with a lot of samples on this record, so paying homage to him was cool to see.
One of my favorites on this record is “Schutcho.” It gives off the same vibe as her “Hot Pink” era and I really enjoyed that project. This is another song that shows off Doja’s lyricism and ability to switch flows quickly. “Balut’’ also does a great job showcasing her ability to focus on the lyricism of the track.
The project takes a turn at “Agora Hills,” focusing on an eccentric theme of love. The beat is a remix of Troop’s 1989 hit “All I Do Is Think of You.” This track is all about a secret love interest that Doja wants to flaunt to the world, but can’t because of her fame. Doja uses a valley girl-esque tone which accompanies the late 80’s themed beat very well.
Immediately following, “Can’t Wait” coincides with the same theme. Her background vocals are beautiful and set the tone of the track perfectly. Doja states it’s another one about you, her love interest, and expresses all the love she has and all the things she would do for him, which isn’t like her.
“Often” is the finale to this theme of love and it shows off how amazing of a singer Doja is. It’s a beautiful track that anyone who has that special someone can relate to.
“Skull And Bones” definitely deserves a mention due to its eerie vibe. Doja addresses claims of selling her soul and pokes fun at making it out of the 27 Club. The 27 Club is a group of artists who passed at the age of 27 due to allegedly selling their souls for fame.
Keeping the unsettling yet engaging tone, “Attention” has ghostly background vocals that accompany the guitar and drums well. This was another single released in June and is another favorite of mine. Doja talks about the parasocial relationship between her and her fans and all the backlash she has received about her weight loss and changing hairstyles.
To conclude this record, Doja put out a surprise track omitted from the original tracklist. “WYM Freestyle” shows that Doja can come up with coherent concepts and ideas without writing anything down. It takes the whole message of the album and puts it right in front of you. Doja knows people will continue to hate just to hate. She essentially laughs them off in this track and lets her competition know she isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
This is probably Doja’s best record to date and long-time fans will likely agree with this. She increased her production value and proved she’s a great rapper while still keeping some of her pop star tropes. I especially enjoyed the variety of samples across the record and overall think the tracks will continue to grow on me and over time relate to each of them differently. 8/10.