It's pretty well-known that winning The X Factor has no bearings on the success or the longevity of the pop career that follows, but Little Mix, the girl band formed over the course of the eighth season of The X Factor, are comfortably ensconced in stardom. Having made waves on both sides of the Atlantic with the ‘Black Magic’, the lead single off their third album Get Weird, the chart-bothering pop quartet are ready to cement their place alongside former girl bands like Spice Girls and Girls Aloud.
Their brand of pop is empowering even if it is a bit kitschy-tween
Confirming the release of the record at this year’s Brit Awards, the four-piece hinted heavily at a new sound on Get Weird. Although a listen of the album doesn’t deliver on this promise, it has to be said that the slick, catchy pop tunes are undeniably catchy, and although the album is nowhere near as different as we’d come to expect, it’s still a great pop record.
Little Mix’s best attribute as a pop group is the fact that all four members have some serious pipes. Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall are all great vocalists in their own right, and it makes them stand out. The harmonies and polished vocal production are what keep the band relevant and unique in a cut-throat pop world over-saturated by bands that centre around one standout vocalist.
Lead single ‘Black Magic’, released in May, has been dominating the airwaves since then. Equally as difficult to get out of your head is the funk-driven ‘Get Weird’, the only really inventive moment on the album – it throws back to an 80s sound which would have made for an interesting direction, should the girls have followed it.
The energy of tunes like ‘Grown’ and ‘Hair’ provide a counterbalance to slower, more powerful ballads like ‘I Love You’ which brings to mind Pixie Lott and Demi Lovato in one go. ‘Secret Love Song’ features Jason Derulo in a soaring ballad full of teenage angst – fourteen-year-olds will have a new heartbreak song in this track, for sure.
The girls are definitely improving over time as songwriters, and their brand of pop is empowering, even if it is a bit kitschy-tween, and their influences are easy to pick out. ‘OMG’ is a tribute to both Britney Spears and Rihanna (listen to it and you’ll immediately understand). Similarly ‘A.D.I.D.A.S’ hints at a more grown-up direction. The track features elements of Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’, and goes on to nod a tribute to Nicki Minaj’s rap style. Surprisingly, it works.
the harmonies and polished vocal production are what keep the band relevant and unique in a cut-throat pop-world
The album definitely has its weak points, though. Power ballad ‘Lightning’ is a listen that can only be described as painful. The cringe-inducing lyrics give way to an awkward experimentation with electronic elements that definitely prove that sometimes less is more. Although even without the synths that shouldn’t be, the song would still be a filler track at best.
The album is a solid pop effort. Little Mix fans will love it, but it’s nothing special. The girl group won’t be converting anyone else with this record.