January 28, LM5 – Little Mix
Total tracks: 14, including a 29-second a capella intro
Songs you might know:
– “Woman Like Me” (ft. Nicki Minaj)
– “Think About Us”
– “Strip” (ft. Sharaya J)
My prior relationship with this album: I’ve been stanning Little Mix for several albums now. The group is everything that a true group act should be. Jade, Jesy, Perrie, and Leigh-Anne have four different voices that are each unique and special in their own right but also they can harmonize like an angel chorus. And unlike some pop acts, their music actually showcases their vocal abilities properly rather than burying beautiful voices in autotune and dance beats.
For the most part, solos and writing duties are shared equitably. Unlike many vocal groups, Little Mix has always given me the impression that each member is integral to the group’s success. No one is a glorified back up singer, and the fact that they have four different vocal textures and tones that they take full advantage of means their music goes above and beyond what any solo artist could do with the same material.
LM5 came out in November of 2018. I listened as soon as it dropped. I nagged my friends to do the same so that I would have someone to discuss the album with. I went to several different FYEs looking for a physical copy before breaking down and ordering one online. It was an album that I listened to over and over again for at least a month without getting bored. However, I’ve taken a bit of a break from it as Album-a-Day has pushed me to keep my listening habits ever changing.
My impressions this time around: One of the things I’ve always loved about Little Mix is their versatility, and LM5 is no different. This one draws more influence from rap and hip hop than their previous albums, as showcased in the lead single “Woman Like Me.” However, we still get a gentle acoustic ballad in “Told You So,” a bit of a reggae vibe from “American Boy,” the partially a capella “Strip,” and so much more. Each track has its own identity, bringing something new and interesting to the table while still helping to serve a larger album vision.
Yet in spite of all the varied influences, LM5 is still an unapologetically pop album. I’m amazed, because pop is a genre that can easily feel cliche and uninteresting, yet damn near every song on here captures everything I love about pop music while still feeling like a fresh take on the genre. And it never feels like Little Mix is trying to be something they’re not either.
Another thing that LM5 executes wonderfully is a balance between vulnerability with empowerment. Songs like “Joan of Arc” and “Strip” are some of my favorites. They’re pretty straight forward female empowerment anthems that energize you to live your best life (Only Lizzo can rival Little Mix in this arena). But yet this isn’t a cheesy, peppy, Disney Channel-esque version of empowerment that tries to pretend empowered women don’t have moments of weakness. “American Boy” and “Notice” are about feeling frustrated and insecure in your relationship. “Told You So” and “Love a Girl Right” capture the strength of female friendship, as both describe helping friends through ugly breakups. My all-time favorite song on the album is the final track, “The Cure” which weaves these two sides together. It’s an empowerment anthem that describes bouncing back after feeling lost and weak in the past. Both the lyrical and musical variety make for an album that’s interesting to listen to while still feeling cohesive.
Who would enjoy it? Everyone. I don’t give a shit what you like, Little Mix is worth a listen