Fifth Harmony have had no harmony for some months now, and in the time since their “hiatus” (read: breakup), Normani has emerged as the new front-runner to have a solo breakout like Camila Cabello first did a year earlier when she left the group. But not so fast: Lauren Jauregui has arrived, releasing her debut solo single “Expectations” today. So, uh, what’s to expect? For one, a more mature direction — there are F-bombs! — with a sultry, brooding, black-and-white video to match the song’s moody, dramatic effect. And … a guitar solo? Truly, it’s a mid-tempo half-ballad that sits comfortably somewhere between pop and R&B with enough wiggle room to call it whatever you want. Expect the unexpected!
It’s also written entirely by Jauregui herself, which the members have suggested since Cabello’s departure was not permitted when they were in Fifth Harmony. “Once Fifth was over was when the shackles [came off],” Jauregui tells Rolling Stone. “I can’t create when I feel stifled. That’s just not in my capacity. I need to feel free.” That newfound freedom now means a debut solo album slated for 2019, which she says she started writing back in May after the group’s breakup. Further unexpected and quite the risk for a debut, it won’t have a single feature. She adds to W: “I’m taking this as my first attempt to be myself. We’re all doing that all the time — it never really stops — but this is me figuring out me right now, with no boundaries.”