Though they’re now the UK’s leading girl group, Little Mix have always lacked an edge. The original Sugababes had sulky faces and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey shaped their sound; Girls Aloud had renowned caner Sarah Harding and approval from bands like Arctic Monkeys. By contrast, Little Mix have Simon Cowell signing their pay cheques (they won The X Factor in 2011) and a naff name that sounds like a brand of portable handwhisk.
But actually, this lack of appeal doesn’t mean Little Mix are rubbish. All four band members (Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jesy Nelson) are genuinely strong singers and their CV contains not just killer singles like ‘DNA’ and ‘Move’, but also a decent album, 2013’s R&B-flavoured ‘Salute’. Nor are this lot media-trained dullards. When BEAT magazine asked them what love smells like in 2013, Jesy shot back with, “Cock”.
The group’s personality and powerhouse vocals light up ‘Get Weird’, a hook-filled and witty collection of unapologetic pop. With the exception of a moody trap ballad called ‘Lightning’, this consistently impressive third album is never as inventive as, say, Girls Aloud in their pomp (2005’s ‘Chemistry’ and 2007’s ‘Tangled Up’), but its tune count isn’t far behind. Fizzy lead single ‘Black Magic’ deserved its Number One in May, while the Motown-channelling ‘Love Me Like You’ suggests London rap-pop trio Stooshe without the forced sense of fun. If Prince had been hired to write a song for an ’80s movie-musical, it might sound something like the glitzy ‘Weird People’.
Melodramatic ballads like ‘Secret Love Song’ and ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’ aren’t as entertaining, but they’re outweighed by the sassy kiss-offs of ‘Hair’ (“He was just a dick and I knew it”) and ‘Grown’ (“Your voice dropped and you thought you could handle me”). The most audacious moment comes towards the end, when you learn that a track called ‘A.D.I.D.A.S.’ stands for “All Day I Dream About Sex”. Its lyrics hint at cunnilingus and borrow Drake’s “hot love and emotion” line from ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’, which means Drizzy even gets a co-writing credit. It might not be that weird, but by this point, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Little Mix are cooler than you gave them credit for.
- Director: Electric, TMS, Knox Brown, Nathan Duvall, Maegan Cottone, Steve Mac, Matt Rad
- Record label: Syco
- Release date: 06 Nov, 2015