You don’t get many girl groups nowadays.
The very phrase arouses suspicion of tightly controlled, cookie cutter pop singers. Yet British foursome Little Mix has taken on the challenge and come out alive-better yet, people actually like them.
Their creation was less than organic: formed out of necessity during the 2011 cycle of British singing show The X Factor, they managed to achieve a sweet-sounding cohesion and became the first group to win the competition. But their career didn’t end after their winning single cover “Cannonball”.
Their debut album “DNA” found its way to the highest U.S. chart position ever reached by a British girl group, allowing them to break a record set by one of their major influences, the one and only Spice Girls.
It’s not hard to see why they became the sweethearts of both sides of the Atlantic. Their voices and personalities are equally as big, their live performances energetic and their music videos endearingly sappy. It’s hard to tell if this careful versatility is constructed or not, but it works. They’re flexible enough to please most audiences yet sassy enough to keep them from being branded vapid pop stars, even as their third album “Get Weird” does see them moving from a more hip-hop oriented past to a poppy future.
Bouncy basslines and danceable beats are still present, like on funky, 80s jam “Weird People” and the snappy, not-really-apologetic “OMG”, but they’re countered by more standard girly tunes like the flirty fun of opener “Black Magic”. “Love Me Like You” takes the standard way back, paying tribute to their girl group roots by sounding uncannily similar to The Ronettes (complete with sha la la harmonies).
Their attempts at censorship are graceful and cute; skipping an obvious vulgar slang word in sassy kiss-off “Hair” just makes the song more appealing. Their sweetness only heightens the naughty bits, the perfect example being nifty acronym “A.D.I.D.A.S”, of which the first five letters stand for ‘All day I dream about’-we’ll let you figure out the last shushed word (psssst: it’s ‘sex’).
The girls’ vocal virtuosity is liberated on love ballads like “Secret Love Song”, which features Jason Derulo and burns with a forbidden intensity and “I Love You”, in which the line “I just wanna scream out till my voice breaks’ is sung-without ever breaking, of course. Rounding off the album is a flawless a capella in which the queen quartet fill the room with their famous lush harmonies, vocal acrobatics and just a hint of snapping.
It’s easy to want to hate them for being so gosh darn darling but they’ll win you over eventually-somehow Little Mix have mastered that secret recipe of sugar, spice, and everything nice.