‘Jersey EP’: Bella Thorne (EP Review)

Y’know, it’s really not much of a surprise that Bella Thorne‘s debut solo EP slays.

After all, she was one-half of Disney’s massive Shake It Up alongside Queen Zendaya. Together, the two sang, dance and shook their way through 3 seasons of the successful series, churning out minor hits like their fierce 2011 electro-pop gem, “Watch Me.” Later on, Bella revolutionized the art of texting with her fire-hot “TTYLXOX.” And of course, there was “Bubblegum Boy” with Queen Pia Mia, arguably One Of The Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time.

Fast forward a few years: Shake It Up is no more. Her BFF Zendaya’s since gone on to become a singing-dancing-acting sensation. And now, Bella’s coming for that pop princess title as well, beginning with the release of her debut solo EP Jersey, out this week.

Each song on the sass-filled 5 track set offers a lil’ somethin’ different (versatile queen of pop!), including the finger-snapping, #SomethingMoreUrban title track “Jersey,” a DJ Mustard-esque trap-lite bop. “If you’re worthy, you deserve me/Get my name and number like the back of my jersey,” she cooly declares above the twerk-friendly, murky club beats. Bella loves get to get 2 On, evidently. Who knew she was about that life?!

Then, she does herself one better: The anthemic, angst-riddled “Paperweight” is pure fire, kicking off atop a twangy, guitar-led pulse that Miley would likely appreciate. “My heart is black and blue/I don’t want no one but you,” she theatrically warbles (recalling Charlotte Sometimes) before diving into the stringy, synth-filled chorus: “‘Cause you got my heart weighted down like a paperweight!” she aches. Now that is a solid pop record — and a possible smash in waiting.

The EP’s made all the more impressive given the songwriters involved in the project, including Bebe Rexha, who assists on “One More Night”: For those of you missing Kesha at her peak (Cannibal), this one offers a nice ‘n nostalgic dose of that mindless glitter-trash at its finest. The Bebe co-penned cut is purely campy club revelry: “We go until we drop! We make it stupid hot!” (Also, “Forever young…we’re DTP!” — which I’m assuming is “down to party.“) Incredible.

Rounding out the collection (aside from a remix of previously released single “Call It Whatever”) is the blippy, ’80’s-tinged “Boyfriend Material,” featuring a co-write that no one saw coming: It’s Charli XCX, sucker! The track sneers with a hint of her rebel style, and doesn’t feel too far off from Sky Ferreira‘s bratty electro-pop diva days with the As If EP. “You’re not boyfriend material, got your back up straight against the wall,” Bella speak-sings. Yes, some Kesha-style rapping too! We’re entirely unworthy.

Sure, we’ve heard shades of all this before from our faves in past years, but that doesn’t make the EP any less fun: Bella’s bringing the quality bubblegum pop, and for that, we should be thankful. For “Paperweight” alone, consider me a Bellarina!

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‘Jersey EP’ was released on December 9. (iTunes)

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