It’s hard to not be impressed by Doja Cat’s ascent in the last three years. Coasting off the meme-able songs from 2018’s Amala, and then skyrocketing to chart-topping hits with 2019’s Hot Pink, Doja finds herself comfortably seated in pop superstardom with her newest album, Planet Her.
Doja’s proved to have excellent skills in cultivating a massive online fanbase and creating songs that TikTok eats up, but her best asset comes from how versatile a singer and rapper she is, and it comes in handy throughout Planet Her.
She weaves and stomps through smooth R&B, chill pop, and hard rap, channelling legends like Janet Jackson and Erykah Badu, while supported by a few guest appearances. SZA provides excellent synergy on the hit “Kiss Me More”, the reliable Ariana Grande briefly brings the harmonies on the oddly titled “I Don’t Do Drugs”, while The Weeknd duets on the fine but forgettable “You Right”. But Planet Her is primarily about, well, her, and Doja succeeds in proving why she deserves the spotlight she currently has.
Doja is going to do what Doja does best, and that’s create fun, polished songs that will no doubt go viral. But is it wrong to want a little bit of risk? A welcome deviation comes in the song “Alone”, where she revels in her independence while kissing goodbye to an ex. “Is it crazy that I’m not scared to be alone?” she asks herself, providing a welcome tinge of self-doubt to her otherwise confident and cocky persona.
There’s nothing particularly new or experimental about this new crop of music — nor does it really fit into the intergalactic theme that the album’s title, music videos, and cover art are aiming for — but Doja’s formula doesn’t seem to be growing stale anytime soon, so it’s best to just enjoy the ride.