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Single Review: Little Mix – ‘Word Up’

2 min read

British girl group Little Mix has come on board to support the British biennial charity event, Sport Relief.

Little Mix Word UpDespite the band’s success to date and good intentions, Word Up (a cover of a 1986 track by American funk group Cameo) is a poor excuse for a motivational charity single.

The acapella opening, with the spelling of ‘W-O-R-D’ and unnecessary stuttering of lyrics, is disorientating for listeners, as there is no beat to keep time. The overly processed, soulless harmonies throughout Word Up pale against spectacular vocal productions on similar electro-pop-rock tracks like Queen of the Night (with Whitney Houston’s signature stacked harmonies) and En Vogue’s explosive Free Your Mind.

When the drums kick in, it is clear that the Little Mix cover has sucked all the funk, groove and personality out of the quirky original. Listeners are battered by a cowbell that’s a bad rip-off of Janet Jackson’s Black Cat (another hard-hitting pop-rock track with great harmonies). The bridge even tries to mimic Prince’s When Doves Cry by removing the bass, whilst also throwing in some autotune and oversinging. W-T-F?

The pointless acapella reappears before the final chorus, ruining the flow and nailing the final nail in the coffin of this lifeless single. If this vocals-only section is intended to show off Little Mix’s singing and emotional power, then it has failed miserably.

Phrases that give away the song’s American origins like ‘word up’ and ‘you’re your brother, your sister and your mama too’ also sound awkward, as none of the vocalists have the soul to pull it off.

Overall, the decision to cover Word Up is wrong on so many levels. The fact that it is a charity track does not redeem its clunky production, lack of soul and average vocal performances.

3 thoughts on “Single Review: Little Mix – ‘Word Up’

  1. You sound like you’re trying too hard to be a pretentious reviewer of real musique with this. It’s not a brilliant song but it’s definitely not as bad as all that. Are listeners so stupid that they can’t follow acapella for all of ten seconds? Since when is “your brother, you sister and your mama” a lyric requiring great reservoirs of soul. I also never knew Janet Jackson invented the cowbell. Color me surprised.

  2. Extremely harsh review OMG. These girls are fabulous vocalists, although I do not like covers however this was just for fun and above all, charity…

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    It’s not the fault of the song or the vocalists in Little mix. It’s the derivative production that really drags it down. I know that Little Mix are capable of so much more; Wings is proof of this!

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