When Little Mix won The X Factor is 2011 we were really excited about their potential. Over the course of the show they proved that they could be an exciting new British girl group with influences from Destiny’s Child and Spice Girls. When their debut album DNA was release last year we were incredibly disappointed. Despite the singles Wings and DNA, there was little else to get excited about and their personality seemed to have been produced out of the mix. Thankfully second album Salute sees them finally make the album we wanted from them and to say they’ve upped their game would be an understatement.
Lead single Move is a good indication of how bold the girls are on Salute. Gone are the mainstream pop sounds that hampered their debut effort and in are the R&B/pop rhythms that we saw during their time on The X Factor. It’s clear the girls have been looking to the greatest girl groups – Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, TLC, En Vogue – for inspiration and they sound all the better for it. The jerky beats of Move and off-beat chorus make you pay attention and that’s exactly what Little Mix needed to do. The song redefines the group with a more confident sound and from listening to the record it’s clear they have confidence in abundance.
The album opens with title track Salute throwing you off immediately with a blitzkrieg siren being the first thing you hear. From there on the harmonies are tight, the vocals fast and furious, and the beats killer. Putting out a call to arms for women, in a similar vein to Destiny’s Child Independent Women, Little Mix sound fresh and energised sending out a strong message to their largely female audience. Over the course of Salute themes of empowerment, female solidarity and independence are rife and Little Mix don’t put a single foot wrong.
The ballads are kept to a minimum on this outing with the girls focusing on anthems for their fan base. The stuttering beats of Little Me give way to a ‘believe in yourself’ moment, the 90s R&B of Nothing Feels Like You mixes fast-verses with an epic chorus, and Competition is a big ballsy pop song about leading the pack. About The Boy is a definite highlight with the girls singing about falling head-over-heels for a man. The album rounds out with the military march of A Different Beat that explodes into a feisty gem.
Of the ballads Good Enough is the strongest and combines a gentle piano ballad with the girls’ gorgeous vocals. We know they can sing but damn do they sound good on this track.
At the core of Little Mix is their harmonies. It’s what sets them apart from every other girl group and makes them better than many that have preceded them. Each of the girls has a strong voice with Perrie frequently shining with her powerful ad-libs and high notes. The girls’ voices are showcased best in the acapella Boy which is pure magic and one of the best tracks on the record. Their chemistry sizzles out of your speakers.
Salute is the album we wanted from Little Mix since they won The X Factor. Bold, sassy and fierce it finally hails their arrival as the next big British girl group (gosh don’t we sound like Louis Walsh). Salute is packed with hits and has a sound that is sure to do well across the globe. Welcome to the big leagues Little Mix, we’ve been waiting for you!