Photo Credit: Courtesy of Columbia Records
British girl group Little Mix remains one of the UK’s most guilty pleasures. Hailing as the only female band to win Simon Cowell’s coveted X-Factor reality show in 2011, the former quartet has since sparked a solid amount of commercial success. From starting out with 2012’s debut DNA, to their sixth album release 2020’s Confetti (The first in post-Cowell era and last album to feature Jesy Nelson). With that said, their journey has not been one void of industry pitfalls and personal setbacks. After five albums, a messy breakup with Syco Music Factory, and almost a decade in the game, Little Mix is finally running their race at their pace. With their latest album Confetti serving as their confessional of deliverance.
Take for example the lead summer track “Break Up Song”, albeit a cookie-cutter pop ballad, nonetheless serving as the LP’s official liberation anthem both literally and figuratively. This is followed up by 2020’s fall single “Not A Pop Song” as the hook blares: “I don’t do what Simon says // Get the message ’cause it’s read // That’s just life it never plays fair // Said to follow any dream // Be a puppet on a string // Works for you but that isn’t me.”
“Sweet Melody” is a Cher meets Fifth Harmony prototype song, as the women roll with conviction as if finally hitting the collective peak they’ve been seeking meaningful credit for. Displaying they can actually sing and that they are capable and worthy of much more than just being minimized to label bate. However, the widespread criticism of Little Mix’s identity is that they only have UK fans and have been unable to crossover with the likes of pop acts like Billie Ellish, Charli XCX, and Kylie Minogue. You get the sense that on Confetti, the starlets take that idea personally and came to set the record straight, as if they want everyone to know exactly who they are and who they aren’t. The radio-welcoming “Happiness” solidifies this sentiment, singing with inspired confidence: “Remember I, I was mine before I was yours // So don’t try, I’m stronger without you, yeah // Without you, yeah // And I swear (I swear) I’m never gonna lose me again (again).”
Contrary to many young girl bands that try and fail before even hitting the pavement, the sassy classy combo of girlish group charm, void of catty egos, has resulted in a surprising 8-year tenure. Despite all the ups and downs, they show how this continued unity has helped them progress on all-around standout tracks like “Holiday”, arguably one of the best offerings of their career thus far. In which, they sound like a legit real singing group, not something refurbished or molded into a label’s dream money-making machine.
“Gloves Up” produces the best vocals on the LP. As Perrie, the blonde haired blue-eyed former songwriter of the set, flexes her vocal chops like a champion on the hook. “A Mess (Happy 4 U)” is a decent closure ballad, about youthful insecurity and jealousy, but begins to become overkill toward the end. Nearing the ladder part of the LP, as if running out of high-end fuel, the album goes as flat as a 0-16 NFL team. Yikes! The last four tracks offer nothing unique or attention grabbing like the first part of the album. It’s safe to say, they didn’t save the best for last. For instance, “My Love Won’t Let You Down”, is a slower love ballad. Which, for all intent purposes, is not where the former quartet’s best strength lies. Unavoidably coming off as forced and rehearsed. “Rendezvous” is a boring and typical add on. Trailed by the watered down “Breathe”, which unfortunately sounds like a direct knockoff of Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown 2009 hit “No Air.”
In conclusion, although Confetti is an ambitious step in the right direction, keeping pace is what Little Mix will need to do better moving forward. They’ve got to establish firm momentum and not only steady it but keep it. If so, they could potentially be one of the biggest female groups of their generation. Despite the few hiccups along the way, all of the obstacles and trials and tribulations have put them where they are today. However, the women use it immaculately in their favor, as the glue that undoubtedly makes things work for the greater part of this project. And by the finish line, they are rewarded by running their best race to date. In essence, Confetti is everything you would expect a prim polished pop album to be, but then again not really at all.