• Izak Hannard

REVIEW: Ava Max’s Heaven & Hell is a gateway to a whole new realm of pop music

Ava Max has finally released her highly anticipated debut album “Heaven and Hell” full of bittersweet bangers and kaleidoscopic rhythms, that takes us on a captivating journey and gravitates towards a new style of alt-pop that can't be ignored.

Ava Max brings a whole new realm of modern pop music to the airwaves that's fresh and unique. The star behind the hit songs “Sweet but Psycho” and “Kings & Queens” has levelled up with her debut album in a slow but progressing world of pop music and staples down her own self worth and authenticity.

Heaven and Hell explores two sides of pop stars persona, demonstrating the fun upbeat side with songs like “Who’s Laughing Now” and “Kings & Queens” with empowering overtones, which unsurprisingly did very well in the charts. Saying that we also get to see the raw side of Ava Max in some her most intimate songs yet with emotional songs like “Naked”, “H.E.A.V.E.N.”, and “Born To The Night” that hallmark how versatile Ava Max’s songs really are and that her talent has no bounds musically.

Ava Max's most recent music video "Naked" features the singer in her first solo music video without backup dancers. With slow-moving melodies and sparkling synths, Ava Max reveals a softer side to her music and vulnerability when it comes to relationships and independence.

While I can honestly say that there are no songs by Ava Max that I don’t enjoy listening to and appreciate, my personal favourite songs from the album are “Torn” and “Rumours”. They take you on a rhythmic journey with powerful crescendo’s full of high emotional flavour that stays with you from beginning to end. “Torn” really hallmarks how powerful the album really is and how it resonates. It also feels slightly Abba-esque similar to their song “Gimme Gimme”, giving it a groovy edge that sticks with you and play it over and over again. 

"Torn" was the song that hooked me to the album the most, with it being the most powerful song on the album. That really comes across in the music video with a comic strip feel and the battle between villains and heroes in love.

Watch the music video here:

The album title “Heaven & Hell” is a giveaway into what you can expect in terms of theme. Two realms of the human expression: the upbeat and raw side versus the darker more enigmatic side. This really hallmarks the entire album and Ava Max is truly breaking the mould of pop music and this is no doubt a defining moment for Ava Max as an artist.

I absolutely love concept albums, an underlying story trickling through as each song acts as a chapter so we get to see into the artist’s story. This one is personal. With this album, Ava peels back her own layers — and she’s not afraid to express her strength and expose her more vulnerable side with this album. That's demonstrated with lyrics like:

"You can take off all my clothes and never see me naked” and “If you don’t know my heart you’re never going to break it." Further on from that, Ava has never shied away from being an outsider and references herself as a misfit in her hit song “So Am I”, which in turn highlights her desire to make music that resonates with her fans, with the reassurance that it's ok to go against the grain in a society full of expectations.

Full Tracklist:

In my opinion, Ava Max is standing out against other pop musicians in the industry with her music feeling so fresh and original, it really satisfies the craving we have for authenticity at the moment. Heaven & Hell is a phenomenal example of that and an album which should be celebrated for the ages, as it syncs with how we can relate to modern pop music as avid listeners. 

With every single Ava Max releases, we always see a breathtaking music video to let the art have its canvas, where she incorporates a different style and unique concept. I especially love the track "Who's Laughing Now" and Ava totally slays performing it live:

Watch here:

Overall, I’m fascinated with this album and there’s not one song that I dislike, which is quite rare for me when it comes to pop albums. Heaven and Hell is a masterpiece and has really hallmarked Ava Max as a pop artist who isn't afraid to break the mould and express how she feels through her music and performances. This album is definitely my favourite pop record to be released in 2020 and maybe one of my favourite pop records of all time.

Star rating: 5/5 (Album of the year!)

Thanks for reading!