As the release of Little Mix’s 5th album, LM5, approaches – there is no denying the girl group’s prowess.
Last night, Perrie, Jesy, Leigh-Anne and Jade stood triumphant over the MTV EMA crowd and millions of viewers across the world. If it wasn’t already clear that Little Mix are the leading girl band of the past decade, it certainly is now.
And as LM5 edges closer and closer to release, with anticipation rising to new mountainous heights every day, it is fair to compare them to the biggest names of the noughties too, in the likes of Girls Aloud and The Spice Girls. Even with the latter’s new announcement, there seems no genuine threat of toppling Little Mix’s throne.
Little Mix are untouchable. In a pop era where the album cycle is no longer ‘à la mode’, you have to be playing with grungy-electronic synths to be seen as a pop pioneer and there is not another vocal group in sight in the Top 20, the former X-Factor contestants’ success is relentless.
The way the group has kept up these levels of success is intelligent. The single ‘Woman Like Me’ is the epitome of what has made Little Mix so powerful. The track, penned by Jess Glynne and set to feature on her sophomore record Always In Between, was handed over to the girls. The original track, much slower and without the Nicki Minaj-feature, would have slotted into Glynne’s album perfectly with its then mellow musings on embracing yourself.
When Little Mix got their hands of the record, sped it up, refreshed the lyrics and added a full Minaj-verse, it became the delicious pop record gracing the charts this month. It’s an example of their unfaltering following of pop trends. From ‘Wings’ to ‘Move’ to ‘Black Magic’ to ‘Shout Out To My Ex’, every track was a huge hit in the year of its release. It’s never too futuristic to not reach their huge audience, it’s never too familiar to be easily forgotten. It isn’t stopping either. The 15 second snippets of tracks off LM5, from the MNEK-influenced clicks of ‘Wasabi’ to the salsa-like chords of ‘American Boy’ and the mellow electronics in ‘Monster In Me’ are all lick-your-lips delicious. The record is set to be truly flawless (again).
— Little Mix (@LittleMix) November 3, 2018
Finding that middle ground is what has allowed the girls to span six years at the top of their game – an astonishing feat for any artist and, for a girl group, it’s unheard of today.
With this deliciously sweet pop sound, Little Mix’s message has remained important, worth-saying and at the forefront of their brand. Whilst turning ‘Woman Like Me’ into a feisty pop flick, the messages of self-love and acceptance are clear. Latest release, ‘Joan of Arc’ follows suit. Wherever you look, no matter how fun the track, there’s a really important message being spread by the girl group. 2016’s ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ is, on the surface, a middle-finger to a past lover – but coming at the time of Perrie and Zayn Malik’s well publicised separation, there was a huge power and story of recovery that came with that single release. The examples are countless. Again take the emotion with which ‘Wings’, another frothy pop delight, was delivered with at last year’s One Love Manchester. It’s not just silly pop music by any means.
Why it is so convincing with Little Mix, is that it is more than just their music. The band’s attitude and example to fans is not complimented enough. Their cool and collected responses to the questioning of their costumes, their defending of one other to probing interviewer questions and their eagerness to have a laugh sets an incredible model for their diverse fan base. During the recent Minaj vs Cardi B drama, the group could have easily taken a side to add fuel to the fire and free promo to the single. But no, a neutral statement made them so much bigger than these other huge names.
Last weekend Leigh-Anne was seen handing out free tickets to the EMAs outside the venue in an act not even taken on for social media content, not being publicised by the band at all. Recently, a Spotify Fans First listening party saw them sing karaoke, dance and take selfies with a room full of fans as if they were just all friends. For the four girls to have such a personal relationship with millions and millions of fans across the globe shows this is so much more than pop music.
To be holding the standards that Little Mix do and to be having so much success is breaking all the usual pop music restrictions. LM5 has the potential to be the biggest record of the year and most likely will be exactly that. Rightly so.
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