Album Review: Little Mix – DNA4 min read
X Factor champions Little Mix have had a bit if a slow start to their career after taking the televised reality show crown last year. In the case of most of the shows previous winners we are usually presented with a record within a couple of months of their crowning in order for Cowell and co to fully capitalize and cash in on their triumph before they are dropped and their records reserved for the HMV bargain bins. Thankfully that hasn’t been the case with Little Mix who have wisely taken their time with the release of DNA, the outfits debut album.
Flying high with the records lead single Wings and the albums second self-titled single, DNA pulls together a dozen delightful yet demanding R&B drenched pop pennings which showcase these girls as true champions of the reality show.
The group were hailed as one of the best girl groups to come out of the UK after they unveiled their talents with their renditions of hits including Rihanna’s Don’t Stop The Music and Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful along with the series standout performance of En Vogue signature hit, Don’t Let Go (Love).
While the groups winning single, the Damien Rice penned Cannonball, left a lot to be desired, resulting in a nation feeling slightly deflated after such a nail biting 2011 series, it seems Team Little Mix have regrouped and crafted a truly memorable and remarkable collection if hits for the acts debut as we got to hear when we received a copy of their upcoming release.
The opening Wings is a Motown drenched hit that comes complete with some of the tightest harmonies heard on a release in some time as well as providing the records handclap coated highlight and a track that sounds very Destiny’s Child-esque with its powerful rhythm and flawless vocals while treating us to a subtle horn section and a series of marching band style drum rolls. The track was released as the DNA’s lead single and with the song they have proven to be an act capable of holding their own outside of the reality show as the single climbed to the top spot in both the UK and Ireland as well as reaching the number 3 spot in Australia.
The girls prove they are no one trick ponies as they refuse to pigeon hole themselves into any single genre within the record. The following title track does the record justice in showing us this as they dabble in synth-heavy dance floor.
Ballads are thrown into the mix with back to back beauties in the form of Change Your Life and the gorgeous Always Be Together. The latter stands as one of the records key moments with its sentimental lyrics and stunning, united vocal arrangement while the girls deliver some impressive ad-libs over the songs moving melody. Further down the track listing Turn Your Face takes the crown in terms of the balladry we are offered on DNA. With its stunning string arrangement the touching inclusion sits in the middle of the record and is driven by the gentle pacing of a piano as the girls unleash some of the most powerful and anguish fuelled vocals heard on the debut. Each member finds their place in the record with ease as they offer a sweet yet sorrow soaked penning.
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The 12 songs on DNA don’t just showcase a triumphant and polished girl group. The record also allows each of the four members to shine and show off their skills behind the mic as individuals, particularly with songs like Always Be Together and Wings offering each member integral solo moments.
Legendary recording artist and founding member of US girl group TLC, T-Boz, joins the group on ‘Red Planet’. The track is the token duet on the album and what more could a rising girl group ask for than to have the leading lady of the best selling female R&B group of all time as their albums notable collaborator. The iconic vocalist provides the track with her distinctive, bass heavy tones as she finds her place between the foursome’s upbeat vocal lashings. The track also opens with a guitar riff quite reminiscent of their famous En Vogue cover.
Another notable finds its way into DNA with the funky, hip hop lickings of How Ya Doin. This one contains a sample of the signature Curiosity Killed The Cat penning Name and Number which the girls use as the pennings driving chorus hook while a Spanish guitar takes us through Going Nowhere, a mid-tempo track that the girls use to vent their frustration at a deadbeat lover who appears to be holding their relationship back. It’s Toni Braxton meets Beyoncé with this song and with a well delivered rap section nearing the end of the record, Going Nowhere provides DNA with its most diverse addition.
Over the course of just shy of 45 minutes Little Mix provide us with a musically and vocally meaty slice of pop pie. Overflowing with electro-pop beats, heavy R&B influences and balanced out nicely with engaging and memorable ballads, DNA is every bit what we were hoping to receive in Little Mix’s debut album.
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