With Little Mix’s brand new single from their upcoming album ‘Glory Days’ (out November 18th) currently sitting at number 1 on the UK charts, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the girls’ discography and see how their compare against each other.
‘Glory Days’ is the girl groups fourth studio album since they won the X Factor back in 2011. In those last five years they have released a total of 14 singles, all of which have been top 20 hits in the UK, with 4 of them making it to number one. Their success grows with every new album, and with the girls now more popular than they’ve ever been before, it’s interesting to look at whether their music has improved or declined with maturity in the industry.
Before I go further I must point out that all opinions expressed here are solely my own, including the ranking of these 10 singles. Nothing said here is meant to offend or express anything negative about the music produced by these four young women.
Shout Out To My Ex
Their newest single is also their lowest rated single in this top 10, although by no means is it bad. If anything the chorus of the song is quite possibly one of their strongest, partly because it reminds me of G.R.L’s hit ‘Ugly Heart’. Some of the lyrics I definitely find quite empowering, as well as highly relatable (it feels to me like a sequel to ‘Secret Love Song’), but the song didn’t immediately grip me on the first few listens.
It should be noted that I’m writing this not too long after it was released so my opinion is purely based off my first few listens. I knew that no lead single would ever match the level of ‘Black Magic’ so maybe the shadow of their former album is simply clouding my judgement. I just felt that the song was a little underwhelming. A little.
Don’t think that I’m not dancing my heart out to it every time I hear it playing.
The second single to be released from ‘Salute’, ‘Little Me’ is one of Little Mix’s strongest ballads, both for the girls’ vocals and their lyrics. This song is the perfect example for why Little Mix are excellent role models for their younger and older fans alike as they sing about how they wish they’d felt better about themselves when they were younger. They urge their audience to love and believe in themselves whenever their insecurities get in their way.
With it’s booming chorus it’s hard not to want to sing your heart out to the track and find yourself getting caught up in the emotion of it all. Whilst it may not be the group’s strongest songs, it is one of their most meaningful and frankly beautiful tracks across the whole of their discography. When you consider the girls’ main fanbase, its songs like ‘Little Me’ that are so important for their audience to hear.
Love Me Like You
The second single from their album ‘Get Weird’, ‘Love Me Like You’ saw Little Mix bring a little Motown swing to 2015. Lamenting the fact that they can’t find a lover who matches up to their ex, this song is one of the group’s more suggestive tunes, especially when you consider that it used to be called ‘F*** Me Like You’. However, as with any Little Mix song, the lyrics can easily be as innocent as they are naughty.
Released as the follow up single to smash hit ‘Black Magic’, the song had big boots to fill. However, it definitely lived up to its expectations with it’s smooth vocals and chanting bridge, making it two pop hits in a row for the girls’ latest album.
When Little Mix released ‘Cannonball’ it was hard to tell just how successful the four-piece would be. As the only group to have won the X Factor, there was no-one to compare longevity to, and with their winner’s single one of the least successful at the time it seemed as though their future was very much in the air before their career had even started.
That all changed when ‘Wings’ hit the airwaves though.
Going straight in at number 1, the song proved exactly what Little Mix were here to do, and that was to dominate the pop music scene. From the moment the song starts with it’s dominant chanting it’s hard not to get up on your feet. The beat is fast-paced and almost never stops to let you have a break, giving you 3 1/2 minutes of pure pop perfection.
Change Your Life
Little Mix’s best single from their debut album, ‘Change Your Life’ bring more of the same essence that made ‘Little Me’ such a great a single. What puts this single higher up in the chart?
Whilst ‘Little Me’ focused on heart-wrenching balladry, ‘Change Your Life’ does what the girls did best when they started out which was to put a massive beat behind the song. The big production behind the song elevates the lyrics to a higher level, putting more passion into the booming chorus as their vocals work beautifully together.
‘Change Your Life’ also reminds the world why this girl group is so different from all the others, because their friendship always shows through in their music. Fallouts and rivalries within groups are nothing new in the music industry, and a lot of the time it’s hard to know whether or not to believe what is shown to you on the surface. With Little Mix, though, that connection is always clear and always genuine, and it’s songs like this one that really make that shine.
The second album is the one that everyone dreads. The bigger the debut, the more there is riding on the follow-up to be just as great, if not better. Times that by 10 if you’re an act that originated from the X Factor.
Little Mix didn’t let those fears get in the way though. With their second album ‘Salute’ they decided to go in a slightly different direction to their debut by giving their music more of an R&B sound. Enter the first single from the album – ‘Move’ – a quirky, uptempo number that sees the girl group with more attitude than they’ve ever shown before. Whilst still feeling like a Little Mix song, ‘Move’ perfectly demonstrates how to reinvent your image without losing yourself, and it doesn’t hurt that the tune is just another banger in their growing line of hits.
The opening track of their second album, ‘Salute’ sees Little Mix recreate the girl power that groups like the Spice Girls made such a priority in their music. However, these four do it in an entirely different way.
One of the group’s more musically darker songs, ‘Salute’ has the girls chanting for empowerment over military-style drum beats that give the track an edge that Little Mix has never had before. It puts to bed the insinuation that these girls can do nothing more than sing basic pop songs because of their origins, and shows that they don’t intend on going anywhere for a long time.
Whilst ‘Salute’ may not show off the girls vocals the way some of their other singles do, this song is quite frankly one of their most credible hits. It provided a fresh sound for the pop music scene when it was released, and asserted the attitude that the girls had previously displayed in ‘Move’.
It was at this moment in time that the fight for longevity in the industry would really start, and ‘Salute’ is essentially a battlecry to the rest of the world. This is war and they would not go down to obscurity without a fight.
Secret Love Song
Admittedly this song ranks higher than it might have done if the beautiful Pt. II didn’t exist, although only by a couple of places.
I always praise Little Mix for creating songs that seem to relate perfectly to my life, and this song is no different. Whilst it may be another song about love/heartbreak, it’s refreshing to hear a song that looks at it from the angle that ‘Secret Love Song’ does. Whether it’s about a partner who’s ashamed to let others know about their relationship or a gay couple afraid to come out to the world, there are so many people that can see themselves reflected in the lyrics.
Last month the song received a Platinum certification from the BPI denoting in excess of 600,000 sales of the song in the UK, making it the group’s 2nd highest selling single in their home country. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. ‘Secret Love Song’ is one of the girls’ most honest songs, and it came at the perfect time as the group’s rise to fame charged full speed ahead. I only wish that they’d released a video for Pt. II as had originally been rumoured.
The perfect break-up anthem that ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ couldn’t quite equal, it’s hard not to get immersed in the epic song that was Little Mix’s final single of the Get Weird era.
Although the song was incredible before Sean Paul was added to the release (it had already charted in the top 40 as a promotional single), I do acknowledge that his inclusion most likely helped the track to perform as well as it did in the charts. No matter what version you listen to, it’s hard to find fault with this song. Musically, it’s just another example of how well Little Mix know the pop music formula, and lyrically it’s relatable to everyone. We’ve pretty much all been in that position where we’ve had our hearts broken and all we want to do is forget about the person that did that to us.
This is the perfect song to sing along to, and at the end of the day that’s a lot of what the girl group’s music is about. ‘Hair’ shows that you don’t have to be the victim in a break-up, just find that attitude buried inside and show that guy or girl exactly what they’re missing.
Could it really be anything else?
Released as a sort-of comeback after two years away from the charts, ‘Black Magic’ was the song that really made a name for Little Mix. Putting the girls back at number one, ‘Black Magic’ was one of the biggest releases in 2015 and dominated the charts during the Summer.
Why? It’s cheeky, it’s suggestive, it’s innocent, it’s upbeat, it’s relatable, it’s fun to dance to, it’s easy to sing along to…the list goes on and on!
Where some of their previous hits were almost like guilty pleasure pop songs, ‘Black Magic’ is the real deal and proves exactly how to create a hit nowadays that doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. This is the song that Little Mix will most likely always be known for, but that’s hardly a bad thing. To have their success blossom on their third album is almost unheard of for a reality contest star, especially when their first two releases were hardly unpopular. ‘Black Magic’ is the fire that the group’s flame, and it doesn’t look like their light will be going out anytime soon.