Bebe Rexha’s Better Mistakes is her second full studio album and lives up to the anticipation and hype she has cultivated over the past few years. It’s a crowning moment for the “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy” singer as a queen of the modern, diverse genre of pop. It’s certainly not a perfect album. However, it is a powerful and thrilling addition to the Staten-island artist’s brilliant discography and a continuation of her unique flair and technique that’s graced the music scene since 2014 after the release of her debut single “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You,”
Released in 2018, Rexha’s first full studio album, Expectations, brought a different look to pop, an alternative form to the Grande’s, the Perry’s, and certainly the Swift’s. Talking about “The Way I Are (Dance With Somebody),” the Brooklyn-born artist noted her differences in an interview with Genius News. This uniqueness has brought pop into a different dimension, one of that blends pop-staple themes with heart-throbbing melodies, guitar riffs, edm punches, and soprano vocals. Her second full studio album brings that dimension into a grander scope and a clearer picture.
Better Mistakes is an anthemic masterclass. “No I would never cry for a man, cry for a man, change who I am,” she sings on “Die for a Man,” bringing in a hip-hop beat and kicking off the track with guitar strums. The album leans on this combination of rock, hip-hop, and electro-pop to envelope listeners in an other-worldly universe where Rexha’s multi-faceted vocals thrive. This is perfectly exemplyfied in the title track “Better Mistakes.” “I should get a real job, talk a little more shit / Burn one more bridge, better mistakes,” and the song closes with a furious electric guitar outro. Rexha is the queen of bringing out a veritable feast of flavors for listeners to savor.
Better Mistakes draws these dishes from every corner of her discography and song-writing credit. The soprano of “Sabotage” brings the style of Expectations’ opener “Ferrari” to a theme about self-sabotaging the things you love. Whereas the Ty Dolla $ign assisted “My Dear Love” repurposes the middle-finger tone and mood of “F.F.F” from her 2017 EP All Your Fault, Pt. 1. “Sacrifice” adds an electro-pop flavour that wouldn’t look out of place in a Disclosure album. Better Mistakes also brings elements of past hits into a sharper focus. Where Rexha’s “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You” (from her 2015 EP, I Don’t Wanna Grow Up) succeeds, “Death Row” shines, triumphs, and conquers as a bop for the love obsessed.
While most of the album thrives off Rexha’s addictive approach to music, there are moments where it doesn’t quite fit. For instance, “On the Go” brings in the pair of Pink Sweat$ and Lunay for a latin-influenced track that seems out of place in the grand scheme of the album. Many tracks are short and often feel too tightly packed—the album is 13 songs running just over 36 minutes. In some instances, the length punches and thrills like in “Mama” and “Empty,” but often, it feels rushed. The album sprints from start to finish, leaving few moments to truly appreciate Rexha’s one-of-a-kind musical aesthetic.
However, there is plenty to appreciate here. Doja Cat provides a new layer and pop to the feisty “Baby, I’m Jealous.” On “Die for a Man,” Lil Uzi Vert delivers lines that perfectly complement Rexha’s tone. In “Amore,” Rexha brings in the legendary rapper Rick Ross. It’s a syrupy track, dripping with sensationalism. “When you wake in a dream / Wrapped in Versace sheets, that’s amore.” Ross and Rexha put a wickedly sarcastic spin on Dean Martin’s iconic love song “That’s Amore.” It’s the perfect example of Rexha’s capacity to creatively express themes and paint her music with a multi-colored brush, interweaving genres and styles and melting them together. It’s an expansive album driven by and anchored in the Albanian-American singer’s excellent voice and song-writing nous.