Tiffany Young released her first single of 2019 on January 24th. The song, titled “Born Again”, is the first single from her forthcoming EP Lips on Lips, which is set to drop on February 22nd. Through this song, Tiffany is intent to come clean, let go of her past, and indeed start anew. Unfortunately, while the final product is extremely well manufactured, “Born Again” lacks the depth necessary to be a stepping stone in Tiffany’s career.
“Born Again” was probably intended to be as radio friendly as a song can possibly get. This goal was definitely achieved. Produced by Fernando Garibay (who also produced Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and a great part of the homonymous album), “Born Again” sounds like a song straight out of an album of Ariana Grande, Rita Ora or Bebe Rexha. Yet, when it comes to defining Tiffany’s new sound, a lot is left to be desired.
The song is a ballad with an R&B flavour and the production is excellent. Post-production on Tiffany’s voice is also extremely well done. The echoes and harmonisations on the chorus make, hands down, the best part of the song. “Born Again” is definitely a well-manufactured song. If not for the fact that Tiffany herself marketed the song as her most honest and personal work to date, nothing would have felt out of place.
The issue with “Born Again” is the fact that its lyrics are shallow and fail to give the listener any kind of insight on Tiffany’s past struggles. In fact, the lyrics talk about being rescued by someone’s love rather than a fresh start following dark times. For a song that has been marketed as a “very emotional and personal journey inspired by all the tragedy and pain I’ve had to mask”, it definitely lacks context.
The only lyrics that hint at Tiffany’s hard times in Korea are “Never felt this safe, in a foreign place, I used to feel so hollow, shallow, vacant.” However, all the positive brand new sensations she is feeling are eventually tracked back to her lover’s presence in her life (“‘cause everytime you love me harder I’m born again”). Love is clearly the most prominent theme in pop music. The reason why Tiffany tried to twist the song’s meaning is actually unclear. As a love song, “Born Again” would have had average lyrics, but it really lacks depth when it comes to being an emblem of Tiffany’s artistic rebirth. It is also unclear if she penned the lyrics herself given how she is credited (both on Spotify and YouTube) as a writer, but not as a lyricist.
The music video is set on a beautiful beach, most likely in California. There does not seem to be much action going on, with the video’s main point of interest being its photography. Tiffany is wearing a stunning voluminous ball gown as she lays down an a cliff and sings. As the song progresses, Tiffany dives into the sea and eventually gets her hair and dress drenched. In the final shots, she has taken off the gown and only wears a silk slip dress.
Given how the song is a ballad, the music video did not need over the top gimmicks to do the song justice. The director managed to create beautiful images using only the landscape as a prop. Water has been linked to rebirth ever since ancient times (such as the act of baptism in Christianity). Setting the music video on a beach is a wise choice.
While the song might be titled “Born Again,” it does not stand as a major revolution for Tiffany’s artistry. She might have taken the wheel and gained full control of her music and artistic choices. However, her latest single does not sound much different from her previous dance-pop hits and lacks the introspection she claimed she showed this time around. “Born Again” is an effective radio friendly song, but fails to live up to what it has been marketed as.