Righteous 90s pop revival from a girl group who can *all actually sing*
What’s the story?:
Little Mix won the X Factor in a flurry of harmonies and En Vogue covers, and then released 'Cannonball' by Damien frickin' Rice, and everyone got in a grump. They followed up later this year with two strong singles, 'Wings' and 'DNA', and are now releasing their debut album to some pretty high anticipation – in this office anyway.
How does the album pan out?
The girls made a massive impression with their cover of En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go during their time on the X Factor, and DNA has that same, familiar feel of clean 90s pop that works so well for them. All Saints and TLC are bleeding out of this record like an open gash on a haemophiliac, but it’s the style we love the girls for.
'Red Planet' with TLC’s very own T-Boz even has a similar intro to 'Don’t Let Go'; using those recognisable guitar riffs for the first couple of bars. The whole album is full of the bloody lovely constant surprise that all four girls have got stonkin’ voices, at a time where so many bands have one or two strong singers and let the others do the “oohs ‘n’ aahs” in the background.
We would listen to it when...
It’s pretty versatile; big tracks 'Stereo Soldier', 'How Ya Doin?' and 'Madhouse' would make for awesome ‘getting-ready-to-go-out’ music; 'We Are Who We Are' is an empowering chant about female body image and accepting yourself, so we like to say we’d listen to that in the mirror every morning (but in reality it’ll probably just be when we have one of our famous ‘three Nandos in a day’ incidents), and then weaker tracks 'Change Your Life' and 'Always Be Together' would most likely feature on the end credits of a film by the Olsen Twins that went straight to DVD. Why these two have been put so early on in the album we’ll never know.
Tracks most likely to top the charts:
'Stereo Soldier' is a massive, thumping, stomping track that fills us with the same urgency to flap about as 'Wings' and 'DNA' – fingers crossed that one’s a single. 'Turn Your Face' is a haunting ballad with the same spooky fragility as Britney Spears’ single 'Everytime', and 'Pretend It’s OK' shows off each girl’s voice spectacularly and should DEFINITELY be their next release… but 'We Are Who We Are' is so frickin’ right-on we want that one to be launched on the world ASAP too. This is a tough one.
Lyrics that make us go YEAH LITTLE MIX FOREVER:
Pretty much every line of 'We Are Who We Are', about accepting yourself for being fab anyway and ignoring everyone else; “I’ve been wasting a lot of time looking in mirrors and hating on me / but now I like what I see / I know, I know I’ll never be perfect / but I’m gonna work it…. I’m gonna shine like a star / because I’m the only me in this world.” YEAH LITTLE MIX.
'Going Nowhere' is essentially just a big shout at a lazy excuse for a boyfriend, having a go at him for doing nothing while the gals go out and live their lives; “while I’m ticking boxes you’ll be counting sheep” made us do a few finger clicks in a Z formation on the way to work.
What they say:
“[single] DNA is just a taste of the convention-defying, individual sound that the girls have poured into every moment of their debut album.”
What we say:
DNA stands out from the current slop of pop acts we’ve got swimming around our brains because it’s not trying to be any kind of dance-pop infusion, R&B inspired electro shizz (although 'How Ya Doin?' might be having a go at being a Joss Stone song) and is just amazing, clean pop music. In the grand scheme of things it’s not anything that’s never been done before, but it’s a much needed dose of pure-pop fun for today.
8/10. A very strong debut from the girls, we’re adding most of the tracks to our playlists – but there are a couple we’ll be leaving off.
We catch up with Little Mix at the Teen Awards - video
Little Mix's official annual is out now - get yours here