Little Mix, an underrated and under appreciated British pop girl group, has dropped their highly anticipated album: LM5. The album itself holds strong powerful themes such as female empowerment, self empowerment, friendship empowerment, and the ever important message of “men aren’t shit.” I strongly believe that for these themes alone and its wig snatching vocals, well-written lyrics, and strong production and beats this album deserves all the awards and recognition that Little Mix has deserved for so long. In this essay I will-
Basing off of the first paragraph alone, we already know that I strongly feel that this album has been a strong improvement for Little Mix showcasing even more their growth as vocalists, song writers, and mature grown powerful women taking the narrative back and rewriting the rules in a male-dominated society.
The album starts right away with the thirty second track, “The National Manthem.” First off, can we just talk about the fact that they started the entire album with the lyric, “she is a bad bitch,” and then on top of that slightly elevate their harmonies on the word honest so effortlessly? I just want to say that is how you start an album artists. Take note. There is not too much else I can say as it set the MOOD for the album and it also left behind a smooth fade and transition into Woman Like Me ft. Nicki Minaj. Like their minds are just powerful.
As someone who used to suffer from depression and insecurity about the way they look, I instantly connected to the lyric, “insecure but I’m working with it.” In a society where we everything we do online is curated and carefully crafted, we don’t often see the bad that comes with the good, leaving us to think that we are in competition to look the best in which are only other competitor is really ourselves.
And then let us talk about that beat and how it just picked up and snatched me dead? I don’t know about you but truthfully I actually love that “boop boop boop” trumpet sound that is sprinkled in the song as well. It added a little something to the song with being overbearing or distracting. A little over two minutes within the song, we then start hearing Nicki Minaj’s feature. I think it fit into the song at the right place and it definitely brought something to the song, with the beat in Minaj’s verses seeming to correlate exactly how Little Mix’s first verse picking up and leaving me dead at first listen.
This song was also the first in three music videos to be released during this new era of music for Little Mix, and let’s just say this video enhanced the song. With fierceness, chair choreography, and incredible looks, it showed off Little Mix breaking down stereotypes of what a women is “supposed” to be by changing from their victorian like dresses and their 1950’s domesticated lifestyle to being the bosses that can do it all and even more.
The third and longest track on the album is the song, “Think About Us.” This song imposes that teasing question to a former lover of, “Do you think about me when you are in the club and I’m over you hanging out with my girls?” This is the first of many songs on the album where the club itself becomes a metaphor for cheating, which morphs the meaning and evolves it through some other songs on the album such as American Boy, Forget You Not and Told You So. It does have some good harmonies through out the song and one exceptionally strong high note, but lyrically it is a bit too repetitive making it feel like a filler track in the album for me.
And now we head into the fourth song of the album, the self-confident body loving ANTHEM of the year: Strip ft. Sharaya J. First off, this song GOES OFF and I definitely recommend adding this song onto your workout playlist. Much like Woman Like Me, it has fantastic production beats in the background that sound like a battle march of confidence that don’t take away or distract the song at all. And for the lyrics themselves, they talk about embracing your “flaws” and loving them, which for most people it is hard to do now a days with what wee see in the media and society. Favorite lyrics include: “up in the mirror I’m like oh yeah,” “they either love it or they don’t,” and the very highly underrated gay-friendly lyric: “love who you want don’t give a damn if it is a man or woman.”
Now let us talk about who they chose to collaborate with for the song, which is rapper Sharaya J. I don’t know about you, but before this song was released I had no clue who she was and now after this song…I’m a fan. Like her verse just went off. Coming with this song, we have a black and white music video that is probably my favorite piece of work that they’ve created. It starts off with the girls being primped and polished by makeup artists and hairdressers and then cuts off to shots of them with no makeup celebrating their natural beauty and “imperfections” – as if they had any to begin with. It then cuts to a still of them laying bare naked with their “imperfections” written on them- which that in itself is POWERFUL to witness and see. To go off that, as if Little Mix wasn’t already serving us a self-confident bop off of that alone, the longer into the video we are then introduced to all these diverse women in the background celebrating their natural themselves. Like yes. Little Mix created the kind of art that most clothing stores, makeup companies, and fitness empires can only dream of and should embrace in their work.
Monster In Me is probably the most grown up song on the album filled with sexual innuendos everywhere in the lyrics like, “Touch me. Why do we kill each other slowly?”, “I love the way you make me scream,” and “The monster in me loves the monster in you.” It talks about something good that has happened for two lovers that turn from soulmates to acquaintances to enemies. It is honestly a very beautiful song and does a really good job showcasing the ranges of the girls, as highlighted in the vocals and silences in the song, but for me and don’t come at me… I just couldn’t connect to it as much. It is also to note the power it leaves behind towards the end with the fading sound of the lyrics, “haunting me, haunting you…” which left me quite haunted and showcased the song to be that way.
We go from haunting and sexual to the twerking self-confident club track in the next song Joan of Arc, which is honestly a BOP. I literally can do a whole forty-five minute workout to this song, Strip, Wasabi, and Motivate alone. Now if you don’t know who Joan Of Arc is, let me just insert a hyperlink for you to read up on her, because she was THAT ICONIC BITCH, as was the other ruler they sing about briefly: Ms. Cleopatra. With the beginning lyrics of, “Want to fuck in the club? Everybody watch me,” it is made clear that Little Mix has the most ICONIC song openings of anyone within these past couple of years. Also can we just talk about the level of confidence it takes to sing the words, “stanning myself, fanning myself, love me so much I put my hands on myself?” That is some boss attitude that I can only aspire to have one day. It is made clear that they are strong independent women themselves letting the unannounced male of the song know that she is only loving him because “she can,” not for attention or because she’s desperate, and that she is a GODDESS. I mean what other song would you rather have belting in your ears in the morning when you are struggling to get those last couple of squats done at the gym?
The second club-inspired cheating song of the album comes in the form of the reggae-inspired salsa sounding dance track number seven Love A Girl Right. This song is a lament to a fuckboy to not mess with a group of girls best friend and honestly this is what female empowerment should be sounding like in 2018, so thank you Little Mix for this track. I also wasn’t expecting the background male voices AT ALL in this song, so much like most- if not all- tracks on the album this only enhanced the quality and production of the song. It actually sounds distinct from anything I’ve listened to recently and I also wrote down on my first listen that this song tells a STORY, so I honestly believe that this song deserves a music video [most likely in the summer]. American Boy picks up from where Love A Girl Right leaves off and starts us off with the introduction of a boy and girl who met in California, had a relationship that didn’t end up well, with the boy telling lies and being defensive and singing about another girl when he plays guitar. I think the song is very catchy but lacks a little bit of lyrical content towards the end of the track, feeling like a filler song.
I just want to say that the next song Told You So is NOTHING compared to anything I’ve ever heard at all in my life. This is the first slower and sadder sounding song on the album that is the sequel to the end of a bad relationship, where a girl is consoled by her best friend with “wine and make up wipes and a kettle of tea,” to talk and cry it all out. The lyrics are soothing and pick up throughout the song reminding the girl that the boy isn’t the one as he isn’t funny, has a hotter best friend, and that he won’t love her like they do. I also love the gradual build ups throughout the song and the vocal quality that just gives this lullaby quality to the track. I really want this song to have a music video with it or have an amazing mashup with another song on tour.
Wasabi is the next track on the album and it is honestly THAT song that just gives the big double middle fingers to the haters. It is that catchy anthem that you will have you feeling ready to take on anyone that doubts you. It also tackles some rumors that the band have been taking on for years head on, such as the way they dress and the band’s separation rumors, with lyrics like,
“The shit the papers write about me
(Oh-oh) I fold it up like origami
(Oh-oh) Like, “She ain’t wearing no clothes”
(Oh-oh) “When she goin’ solo?”
(Oh-oh) “I bet they gonna break up”
(Oh-oh) But what the hell do you know?”
This song is a gentle and polite reminder that anyone who says something ugly to you most likely doesn’t have the guts to actually say something to your face and to stay strong and remain unfazed by the haters. At first listen, I thought it lacked some lyrics and now I just want to apologize to Ms. Wasabi as it is now in my top three songs on the album. This song then transitions to the third collaboration on the album More Than Words ft. Kamille.
More Than Words is the one of the most authentic songs and one, if not the best collaboration they have ever done. It is raw, revealing, and showcases their powerhouse vocals. While personally this song hasn’t really hit me or connected yet, I do strongly believe it will be one of their most underrated and underappreciated songs of all time. I also didn’t know who Kamille was before listening to the track but I do love her voice and the angelic sense of wisdom that it carries throughout the song and the video. THE VIDEO. Let us talk about the video. It had very stunning visuals that were haunting and carried the vocals. Let me just say that I need more words to talk about the beauty that is the song More Than Words.
This songs then transitions us into the highly energetic and upbeat Motivate Me. With an album of songs that stem from the concept of not needing a man and sticking with your friends, this song doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest especially with the lyrics, “When he’s with me b****es hate me.” Now don’t hate me, because I really do love this catchy bop and the way the song transitioned over from More Than Words, but it seems a little interesting to include this as it seems to go against the message of the album. Regardless, I still love it as it is catchy, grown up in the lyrical content, and it does talk about finding someone that inspires you to be the best boss version of yourself- even though it is to have others hate you.
The next track Notice seems to be the sequel to Motivate Me where the relationship seems to go beyond the face value of what others see into what happens within the relationship, with the guy not noticing the girl even if she is wearing something that is very sexy and her singing, “I don’t think you notice. What is the point of wearing something if you don’t notice the sex in the air?” This song is basically saying if you don’t pay attention to me the same way I pay attention to you I will leave. At first listen, to me, it felt like a filler song but after much further examination it has actually become a little bit of grower and it does have an importance to this album of this is the final straw song. This is echoed in the lyric, “I’m going to take off if you don’t notice,” which she does leaving the guy behind to find her self-confidence again in The Cure.
The Cure is a beautiful angelic sounding realization of that feeling when you finally find your worth and not just a fake recognization of it- the true pure moment when you can say, “I was a little messed up but I’m not anymore. I don’t need anyone else. Happiness was always inside of me but lord it took a minute to find me.” The lyrical content alone is beautiful on it’s own, but the overlapping of the voices especially around the 2:30 mark of the song sound heavenly. What can I say? Little Mix are actual angels with this track that provided us the soundtrack this year of finding your worth. Forget You Not is that last song on the regular album that takes the whole album full circle as it talks about the girl being fully confident with her friends and a new man in the club. Like THAT IS AN IMPACT using the one place that broke your heart as the setting for happiness and reminding the boy that she won’t forget him. It is also one of the catchiest songs on the album with the, “bada bang bang,” beat that is infused throughout the chorus and multiple parts of the verses enriching the song and adding a tropical vibe to the song.
The three bonus songs included on the deluxe version of LM5 are Woman’s World, The Cure (Stripped) and Only You ft. Cheat Codes. The first song Woman’s World speaks on the struggles that women are experiencing everyday in the workplace and society, with references made to the irrefutable pay gap between men and women in the office in addition to the stereotypes of the way a woman “has to dress and speak” in society. It is very highly elocuted with the lyric, “she’s overworked and unpaid because of how her body is made ain’t that insane…” and yes it quite frankly is. Even though I can’t personally relate and connect to these struggles, it is the most truest and most unfair thing I get to see and witness everyday. The Cure (Stripped) is the second bonus song on the album, which is just if you take a portion of The Cure and completely strip it back and it honestly sounds so perfect especially around the forty second mark. My only problem with it is that it isn’t longer.
The third and final bonus track, ending the album is the EDM dance song Only You with the duo Cheat Codes. It tells about this relationship where they had all it and then they lost it, falling out of love and only having the memories left of their time together. It is an okay song with catchy lines and it also tells a story, but I’m not quite sure how I feel about it listening to it as the last song on the deluxe. I think it was good that they didn’t take away any of the songs from the main album, but i think it would have been better fitted in the album toward the beginning or the middle kind of before Think About Us or American Boy to make it sound more cohesive with the tone of the album.
I do apologize for the late posting of this album review, but after giving it a couple of weeks of listening to the album I do believe that it is Little Mix’s best work. I think it is confident, empowering, and honestly features some of their best vocals and strongest cases of superb songwriting abilities that Little Mix has ever given. Let us hope that this album finally gives them recognization that they deserve here as artists in the United States.
Overall grade: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Favorite songs: The National Manthem, Woman Like Me ft. Nicki Minaj, Strip ft. Sharaya J, Joan of Arc, Love A Girl Right, Told You So, Wasabi, The Cure, Forget You Not and Woman’s World.