Pop

Fifth Harmony Is Proof Pop Magic Is Still Alive And Well

Their Reflection Tour may be nearing its end, but these girls are here to stay.

It is impossible to have a terrible time at a Fifth Harmony concert.

Well, if you’re the Grinch or—I don’t know—Donald Trump, then maybe. But I’m neither of those people (thank God), and I had a fantastic time at Fifth Harmony’s show in New York City Thursday night, one of the last stops on their Reflection Tour. The band’s approximate 90-minute set was a tireless showcase of punchy pop aerobics, chock-full of bowling pin-style choreography, slay-my-life high notes and a genuine bubblegum aesthetic that not once felt nauseating. It was all sweet.

Clad in matching shimmery blue outfits and sparkly gold heels, the five girls—Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui, Normani Kordei, Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane Hansen—powered through exasperating dance breaks with an almost-militant discipline. Their voices never faltered—and their enthusiasm didn’t, either. And that was impressive, given the girls only broke once for water the entire show. How the hell is this possible? Are they even humans? Probably not.

As a 22-year-old with fond memories of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, I couldn’t help but compare the ladies of 5H to pop’s golden age. Today’s pop heavy-hitters—who shall remain nameless, because I don’t want to be a shady MF—don’t quite possess the same inexplicable oomph as the *NSYNCers of yesteryear, but Fifth Harmony definitely has it. In spades.

1999 purists, hear me out. There was something about the way Fifth Harmony moved that gave me distinct Spice Girls vibes. Yes, they were technically excellent, but what I’m talking about can’t really be described. Their hips popped just a little more fully. Their kicks were just a little bit higher. They hit their poses with Madonna-style ferocity. Simply put, 5H possessed a Britney-level focus Thursday night that gave their performance a palpable heightened energy. It felt like 2002 in the best way possible.

And damn it, that’s what these kids need today. As I munched on M&Ms alone in my seat, I watched dozens of 11-year-old nuggets hang on these five girls’ every word, dazzled by their larger-than-life prowess. It brought me back to watching Britney’s Onyx Hotel Tour live in 2004. It’s nice to know these youths were jazzed about a show of equal caliber. Yes, I’m saying Fifth Harmony and old school Britney are on par. And I mean every GD word.

Plus, they can sing. (Not totally surprising, given they’re a product of The X Factor, but it’s still thrilling to see pop performers with mad sets of pipes.) The uptempo fare left little room for vocal Olympics, but the girls shined during the show’s slower moments like “We Know.” A few whistle notes left me star-fished on the floor, tbh.

I left Fifth Harmony’s concert with a wave of giddy pre-teen bliss that felt overwhelmingly nostalgic. What was this feeling? And then it hit me: It was exactly the way I felt leaving Britney’s Onyx tour 11 years ago. Everything felt possible, wonderful and infinite. Almost other-worldly. I didn’t think this brand of wonderment still existed, but Fifth Harmony proved me wrong.

It’s nice to know pop magic is still alive and well.