Release Date: November 6th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Break Up Song
- Sweet Melody
- Not A Pop Song
- Nothing But My Feelings
- Gloves Up
- A Mess (Happy 4 U)
- My Love Won’t Let You Down
- If You Want My Love
If you were to ask me who the most prolific, inspiring, engaging, honest, vulnerable, encouraging and hopeful girl group of the modern era is (post 2000) … then I’d definitely have to say without a doubt British quartet Little Mix. More inspiring, influential, popular, and encouraging than contemporaries Fifth Harmony and BLACKPINK, and maybe on par in terms of impact with girl group legends Destiny’s Child, The Pussycat Dolls and The Spice Girls; Little Mix comprises of Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson and Jade Thirlwall- and I have only started to seriously listen to the group and their discography (5 studio albums and now their latest album Confetti) this year. And it’s all due to my rising interest being piqued because of a few of their songs being constantly played on the radio- namely “Change Your Life”, “Black Magic” and “Little Me”. So when the group’s latest single “Break Up Song” was unveiled in March this year- their first single under a new label group RCA Records- with quite heavy promotion in the lead up to the track being released- I thought I better take a listen and see what the big fuss is about. I mean, Christian singer/songwriter Philippa Hanna endorses them, and toured with the group, so Little Mix have gotta be great, right?
Well let me tell you that “Break Up Song” is honest, emotional, vulnerable and inspiring, while still being fun to listen to, as well as having a positive message. Even before listening to “Break Up Song”, the odd few songs I had heard on the radio (“Change Your Life”, “Black Magic” and “Little Me”) as well as a number of tracks I intentionally sought out (“Wings”, “Secret Love Song”, “Salute”, “Shout Out To My Ex”, and “The Cure” to name a few), convinced me to write about these girls in my Momentous Mondays blog post– so in that sense Little Mix has to be doing something right for me to deem them a future influencer in music. If you haven’t heard of Little Mix before, then “Break Up Song” is indeed a great place to start- despite the group’s extensive discography. But if you guys have come to read more about the history of Little Mix, then here you would be disappointed. Because if you want to read about how the group came to be…then you can read about that and more about the group’s songs on my Momentous Mondays blog post. And while there, you all can listen to the group’s hit songs. Finished yet? Well just this past week, the girls unveiled Confetti, their sixth album; and let me tell you that Jesy, Perrie, Leigh-Anne and Jade have never sounded better! Vocally, lyrically, and sonically, this project is in my opinion their most cohesive yet. But if you’re not a ‘Mixer’ currently… then now’s the perfect time to listen to Confetti and ergo become a ‘Mixer’! These girls are too compelling, powerful, thought-provoking, comforting and confronting to be slept on!
Immediately, my eyes travel down the track-list to track #1- the lead single “Break Up Song”. On the surface, this 80’s musically inspired dance track is about the breakdown and goodbye of a relationship, and the confidence that the persona is filled with when realising that it is good to be single and independent for a season in life. However, there is indeed a double meaning here that may have been intended by the girls, but maybe not. If you’re a big, big fan of Little Mix, or if you’re just like myself and doing some research on Wikipedia, then if you know about Little Mix’s history, then you’d know about disagreements with their label and with Simon Cowell culminating in a split from the label and a new label change in 2018. Some would say “Break Up Song” addresses the girls’ breakup from their label- their musical home for 7 years. Though for newer fans, a split in the label wouldn’t concern them…so perhaps I’m reading too deeply into this song. Anyway, the track is fun to listen to, and is a great reminder than our self-worth need not to be tied to any one person. And so, for all of you, if we remember that we are beautiful the way we are, and we are beautiful regardless of who is beside us…then Little Mix have done their job here. Perhaps God is also speaking through this song and through Little Mix’s discography as well.
Immediately following the no-nonsense and explosive “Break Up Song” is the breezy, summery and laid back “Holiday”. At first glance and from first impressions, this happy-go-lucky danceable 3 minute pop track speaks about the very explicit physical nature of a relationship, and that during quarantine and lockdown (which was when this song was written and recorded), seeing that going on a holiday overseas or interstate isn’t possible at the moment; the band members declare that going on a ‘holiday’ with their partners is good enough, So does this imply taking drugs and going on a ‘trip’ during physical intimacy, or is this a song detailing the intricacies of sex? On the surface, despite the catchiness of the track, it may feel like this song was lyrically basic and unnecessary. Yet, because “Holiday” was by Little Mix, I forged on and tried to find the hidden meaning. And lo and behold- I found a diamond in the rough. A second, third, fourth, even fifth listen to “Holiday” reveals that in my opinion, the underlying message highlighted is the longing to be in a close relationship with your significant other- this pop track is a love song essentially reminding the significant other that they’re the most special part of your life- that nothing else compares to them, that they’re unique and special and one of a kind. Some would say that I’m reading too much into the song, and that it’s as shallow as it sounds. But for a band that has had smash hit songs with many tracks having double/triple meanings; I reckon Little Mix might’ve had another hidden meaning in mind for this song. In any case though, the track is nevertheless fun to listen to, and is a great reminder to place our loved ones as important and worthy even while we may be apart from them due to quarantine.
Break Up Song
Perrie Edwards: “We wrote this with [UK singer, songwriter, and producer] KAMILLE and some others. We had a two-day writing session where we wrote around seven songs, and the majority of them made it to the album. It was just a good session. Champagne was popping. ‘Break Up Song’ is just that ’80s feel-good pop fun. It’s very nostalgic.”
Leigh-Anne Pinnock: “This song reminds me a bit of ‘Black Magic,’ but cooler. It’s just that ’80s synth that makes you feel good. We always love a great introduction to the album as well. When we released this song [in March 2020], everyone just needed a bit of a pick-me-up and a bit of a boost.”
PE: “We get a lot of inspiration when we go through breakups and personal stuff. And it’s always the easiest thing to write about. We write with the heart and about how you’re feeling emotionally. But for this one, we were just like, ‘Why don’t we write instead about being happy and how a boy can make you feel amazing when he’s the one?’ And it just went from there.”
Jade Thirlwall: “There are a few songs on this album that are quite bass-heavy. For this one, Leigh-Anne and I, when we were in LA, did a few sessions with [US singer-songwriter] Tayla Parx, who did ‘7 rings’ with Ariana Grande and some massive bangers in the US. She played us this, which she’d done with [British singer, songwriter, and producer] MNEK, who we work with a lot, and we were singing it for days after. The song tells a story as well—to me, it’s like the big sister to ‘Touch.’”
LP: “With that beat dropping in the chorus, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m sold. This is it!’ It’s a banger!”
PE: “‘Confetti’ is sexy. It’s very understated but cool. And we just feel cool listening to it. As soon as we had this song, we just knew this would be what the album would be called. It was fun, cool, and you could do so much with it.”
JT: “We always think of video ideas and gender reversals. You know when you see rappers in the club with girls dancing? Imagine if that was switched round.”
PE: “The melodies take you somewhere—my boyfriend absolutely loves this one because of them. The concept of this song and the lyrics are really nice, too. I think the song is relatable to everybody. People, especially in the world we’re living in right now, are very dependent on other people for their happiness. I’m a bit like that: My emotions are based on how somebody else makes me feel. And I think this song is amazing—the message is that you don’t need somebody to make you feel good. You should just be happy within yourself.”
JT: “I think it’s very empowering. It’s like, ‘I was searching for happiness. I thought it was with you, but actually it’s just with myself.’ It’s the anti-codependent bop of 2020!”
Not a Pop Song
LP: “We did this with Tayla Parx, too. It was about the crummy year we had. Basically, it’s a bit of tea, that song, isn’t it? We were sipping a bit of tea when we wrote it. A lot of people in the past have said that we’re puppets just because we’re in a pop girl group and that we’re a guilty pleasure. ‘We don’t do what Simon says’ is the lyric.”
JT: “There’s so much to us. We deserve credibility and respect.”
Nothing But My Feelings
JT: “We wrote this song in LA. I think it’s quite empowering actually for women to write about getting a booty call, and being like, ‘Yeah, do you know what? Sometimes, I just want to have sex. And I’ll give you a call and I’ll let you know when you can come around. I’ve got nowt on.’ We tried to make the chorus a bit nursery rhyme-y so it was quite innocent. But when you hear the lyrics, they’re a bit filth. To me, the big chorus is like two people having a one-night stand, and then the gospel choir is like, ‘Yeah, well done!’ That bit will be good on tour as well.”
PE: “This was done with [songwriter] Maegan Cottone, who we wrote ‘Salute’ with, as well as other songs. We absolutely love Meg. I feel like she just gets us so well. It’s a very anthemic song, and the chorus is quite Ciara-ish. We just had fun with it.”
LP: “‘Gloves Up’ takes me back a little bit within Little Mix, but I don’t mind that. I feel like this one will be a fan favorite. We had it in mind when we wrote this song that it would maybe be a tour opener.”
A Mess (Happy 4 U)
LP: “The lyrics in this song, to me, are kind of Robyn-esque. It’s sad—it’s about seeing your ex with somebody else. And it’s like, ‘Look, if you’re happy, I’m happy.’ Even though you’re not. It sounds quite cutesy and happy, but it’s actually really freaking sad. You’re actually dying. We love a happy sad song.”
My Love Won’t Let You Down
PE: “I think, for me, the thing that makes me so emotional when I hear this song is the space in it. It’s not like a flowing, typical ballad. There’s so much space and the piano just drops out—it just really gets me every time. And it’s like we’re singing it to each other. You can interpret it in so many different ways, but it is nice to think that we’re singing it to each other, like we’ve got each other’s backs.”
JT: “This song is quite dark, sexy, and low, which we don’t all do that often. Everyone’s kind of down there on this one. It’s exactly about owning your sexuality. Like, ‘How do you feel about a rendezvous?’”
LP: “It’s quite stripped back as well. I feel like we’re used to throwing bells and whistles at songs, so it was quite nice to hold it back a little bit and just do just something really cool and sultry.”
If You Want My Love
JT: “The meaning of ‘If You Want My Love’ is like, I’m sick of your shit. If you want my love, work for it. Put the effort in. We’re very busy girls, you see? We’re very successful! And you’re putting in some half-arsed effort. Just work for it.”
LP: “It’s nice to be vulnerable every now and again. This song reminds me of ‘No Air’ [by Jordin Sparks, featuring Chris Brown]. It’s got that vibe. This is probably the closest to R&B I feel like we’ve got with our music, and I feel like we needed an R&B feature. The lyric is ‘I can’t breathe when you’re not with me.’ You do feel like that after a breakup sometimes. Even though it’s not true—you can survive without him. But that’s the feeling you’ve got at the time.”
The rest of the album of Confetti is just as compelling and engaging as the first two tracks- and from reading the girls’ behind the scenes inspirations of the rest of the songs here (or above!), we can understand that this project is one of their most honest and vulnerable. “Sweet Melody” is a heartbreaking and poignant pop song whereby the girls relay how they’ve been burned by guys before, who ‘…used to sing me sweet melodies, he played me, made me believe it was real love, sang me sweet melodies, but the day he did me wrong, the song couldn’t go on and on and on…’, reminding us all that we do not need to fall for the charm of worldly pleasures, if we know where our firm identity is in; while the authoritative and prophetic title track emphatically declares blessings and providence over our lives, even if we aren’t in a relationship, reminding us that good things can come to us in the times where we least expect it. Thoughtful and hopeful “Happiness” is next, and is an album standout, with the 3 minute dance/pop ABBA like tune vividly describing the concept of happiness originating from within ourselves rather than from an external source like a loved one (similar concept to Avril Lavigne’s “It Was In Me”); while the confronting and in-your-face acoustic guitar led “Not A Pop Song” dives deep into the preconceptions of what pop songs should be, and flips it on its head, declaring that the four of them want to sing about songs that mean something and not just superfluous transient topics that will fade away one day. The fact that these girls name drop Simon Cowell here is pure lyrical genius, and as these confident women speak out boldly about topics close to their heart, it’s evident that even Simon Cowell, who isn’t a fan of them anymore and famously had a ‘beef’ and an argument with them, will be forced to listen to these girls and re-examine his viewpoint towards Little Mix as artists.
“Nothing But My Feelings”, a toe-tapping head-swaying party anthem, eloquently speaks about wanting to be close to someone, putting yourself out there and taking that leap of faith no matter the consequences (the girls declare to a guy that they have feelings and that he should be a man and take the lead and ‘…you should probably come through if you know what’s good for you…’); while the get-up-and-get-‘em inspirational and riveting “Gloves Up” is as rousing and stirring as any song this year- with the theme and message being similar to Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion” and Carman’s “Heart Of A Champion”- fighting the good fight, never giving up and always striving to be a better version of yourself than before. The emotional, melancholy and reflective “A Mess (Happy 4 You)” is a must listen on an already strong track list, as the girls relay to us the realities of breakups- that sometimes you can feel sad about someone moving on but still feel happy for them even though the feelings linger and everything hurts; and with the track reminding me of Lindsay Ell’s “Good On You” and also sure to resonate with almost everyone who hears it, “A Mess (Happy 4 You)” tells us all that it’s ok to feel sadness and happiness at the same time, and we do have permission to feel our feelings despite what society says about burying them down.
The jovial and danceable “Rendezvous” samples Michael Buble’s “Sway With Me”, and speaks about the persona wanting to physically show her lover how much they mean to her- a reminder to us all that we all need to show people that we love them and not just say it with words and no actions; while the high-octane confronting “If You Want My Love” musically plays out like a Backstreet Boys or NSYNC song, as the girls give guys the ultimatum to make a move on them and be the chivalrous person they were meant to be- sort of an opposite to for KING & COUNTRY’s “Priceless”. Confetti then ends with the haunting, mysterious and emotional “Breathe”, led by the piano and asking the question of how we are supposed to go on living when the one we love doesn’t love us anymore for whatever reason.
Yet the biggest shining light on Confetti is the piano only “My Love Won’t Let You Down”, which is way too short (should’ve been 4-5 minutes!), and in my opinion should’ve been the album closer. With the four girls emphatically singing in perfect harmony with raw, unfiltered emotion, vulnerability and honesty, the song can be interpreted in many different ways- from a lover to their significant other, between best friends, from a parent to a child, between siblings, or even from God Almighty Himself to each one of us; but whatever you all interpret this song as, there’s one thing that is certain- that this song deserves to be listened to more than once, especially during these trying times of 2020. Because when we hear the chorus, the God-anointed and Holy Spirit inspired chorus that cries out ‘…I’ll be there with you, no matter what you’re goin’ through, I’ll be there with you, anytime that you need me to, when there’s no one else around, on your last breath callin’ out, trust me, my love won’t let you down…’… I mean if you don’t get chills down your spine, are you really human? If you aren’t emotional and overcome with gratitude for the loved ones in your life, inclusive of God, then maybe you need to listen to this song over and over until you get it. We all need connection and comradery and friendship and people to share life with. In 2020 this is key. And if Little Mix only present to us that truth and that’s all… then from this song alone, Confetti is more than worth the listen (or the buy!).
With COVID-19 increasing confusion and uncertainty around the release date of albums and TV shows and movies, Little Mix’s Confetti probably was supposed to release earlier this year like in July or August. With the prospect of live shows having no guarantee in the immediate future (at least the big arenas!); this makes any new album from any artist extremely special, and that is the case of Confetti. Sure, “Holiday” and “Rendezvous” are a tad superficial lyrically, but I reckon if we move past that and still allow God to move; then we can hear one of this year’s most underrated yet most hopeful and impacting albums. While I myself need to re-listen more to Little Mix’s discography because they are that good (and writing this blog post in April this year only cements the notion that these girls are going to be here to stay, and will blow up the world someday- yep even America!); I believe that this band is one band that you all should take notice of, and check out if you haven’t already. So what are you waiting for? God is certainly moving through Little Mix, as they delve into a myriad of relatable topics for the world today; so let’s dive in and hear what they have to say through Confetti!
3 songs to listen to: Happiness, Gloves Up, My Love Won’t Let You Down
RIYL: Kelly Clarkson, P!NK, Demi Lovato, Riley Clemmons, Britt Nicole, Superchick, Fifth Harmony