Little Mix return with the much anticipated new record Salute, but have they avoided the difficult second album syndrome? They’ve managed to come off the X Factor production line pretty well with a decent debut in DNA, and unlike a lot of the TV show’s acts, they actually seem like they’re going to be around for a while.
Perrie, Jade, Leigh-Anne, and Jesy seem much more confident and polished these days. Probably being media trained to within an inch of their lives and busy being pop stars, this luckily hasn’t affected the music at all. Their vocals throughout Salute are on top form and still gelling nicely together, even sounding better and more technical in many areas. Salute has an overall feel of a 90s album that’s been updated, which is a good thing because most of their fans probably missed the whole era the first time round, and it was a true classic decade for pop music with the likes of girl groups such as The Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child and TLC to name a few. The world needs reminding of these greats and that’s what Little Mix is here to do.
Album opener Salute starts us off with a very English intro of war sirens and the bugle, keeping with a military pop theme throughout. Urban voices mixing perfectly leads up to a marching beat with a call to girl power with the lyrics “representing all the women, SALUTE!” First single Move is another highlight, showing the girls brimming with confidence, and a delightful hook which sounds like the theme tune from 80s children’s show Rainbow. It’s catchy, its poppy, and its good on the ears.
As mentioned before, the 90s vibe is present throughout the record just like a lot of their previous album, but the girls work so well with this sound it would be wrong to change it completely for the second album. Little Me has drums reminiscent of Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River over an R & B focussed track. After a few listens the song really comes into its own, but I think perhaps the talk of growing up may be a little premature considering how young they still are. Boy has to be up there as one of the best tracks they’ve ever done, out-singing Destiny’s Child on the vocal harmonies front with just finger clicks and voices, leading into a cracking chrous.
As with a lot of pop music, sometimes where the album falls short is with the lyrics. They are pretty generic throughout offering nothing particularly insightful, and ballads such as These Four Walls feature nothing new and feel clouded within the album.
They sign off in fine style however with track A Different Beat. Starting and ending the record with the military sound adds a touch of thought and relevance. The song is a soulful soup of drums, energy and pop loveliness. “uh oh, there you go, out of your comfort Zone” sing the girls, and I think they should go out of their comfort zone more often. They’ve created a good album sticking to their 90s sounding theme, but A Different Beat shows they are capable of much more in the future, and it’s a good sign of things to come.
The girls have done the U.K proud again with Salute, and despite a couple of minor flaws, they have a second album that’s really worth a listen, all hail the Little Mix 90s revival!
[CBC country=”us” show=”y”][/CBC]
[CBC country=”au” show=”y”][/CBC]