Showing posts with label little mix. Show all posts
Showing posts with label little mix. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

video review: 'lm5' by little mix

...yeah, I wanted to like it more too. Hopefully will be better next time.

But next up... let's get a little weird here, so stay tuned!

album review: 'lm5' by little mix

So this is the fourth Little Mix album I've covered on this channel, and by now I think you all know the beats I've hit. Yes, the girls can harmonize their asses off and the writing is often punching above their weight class, but the group's pivots towards pop in recent years have been handicapped by slapdash production that doesn't always flatter them as much as they could, most likely because of budget constraints because they're a reality show girl group assembled by SYCO and Simon Cowell. Like their peers in Fifth Harmony, they were a group assembled for disposability, and I'll admit that I was waiting for the moment when they self-destructed just like Fifth Harmony did...

And that hasn't happened, and for the life of me, I'm a little stunned they've lasted with as much quality as they have. Hell, not just lasted but prospered! They get their most flamboyant pop push on Get Weird... and nab their first #1 in the UK with 'Black Magic'. They're saddled with the most slapdash collection of ideas and cowriters on Glory Days, and not only did that album get better with every single listen, they snagged a second #1 and a respectable number of solid hits even before UK radio began remixing them with everyone under the sun. Oh, and despite its terrible video, Little Mix made 'Touch', which is one of the best pop songs of the decade and also wound up becoming a top 5 hit in the UK! Let's make this clear, while Little Mix hasn't quite won the critical acclaim of Girls Aloud, their sheer amount of success and consistent quality despite everything deserves to have them put in the conversation of the great girl groups, and the surprise is that they haven't had the US crossover yet - hell, if they had released the fantastic new jack swing of 'Private Show' to US radio, they'd have beaten Bruno Mars to the punch by a solid year!

So now we're in 2018, Fifth Harmony has been knocked off the board, and Syco is even out of the picture now - unfortunately they were involved in production of this album but now Little Mix is on RCA UK and Columbia. The marketing was priming the band for the US market, and while I had high hopes for the girl group - especially given how many genres they've managed to leap across over the past five years - pop and R&B are in a very different position in 2018 and I had genuine concerns whether this would be what they need, especially with even more producers and cowriters joining them. There's no excuse for this to not be good and I had high hopes - so what did we get with LM5?

Friday, November 18, 2016

video review: 'glory days' by little mix

Well, this was unexpected - again, as I said in the review, I had a real sinking feeling going into this... turns out it actually delivered pretty damn well, I was impressed by this. 

Let's keep up with pop, though, so I've got Bruno Mars coming. But first... stay tuned!

album review: 'glory days' by little mix

I was worried about this album - and man, I didn't want to be.

Because if you've been following the continuing saga of the Syco Music girl groups Fifth Harmony and Little Mix - of which I've covered two records apiece from both band - I've been coming to the stark realization that the groups really are being mismanaged across the board, from production all the way up to marketing. For some ungodly reason Fifth Harmony was pushed towards R&B on their first record and added more tropical touches for their second - and it became all the more apparent they should be making pop music, and certainly not pop/R&B. They barely wrote their own music or actually harmonized, their most pitchy and frustrating singer Camila was pushing her own pop career in a Nicole Scherzinger sort of way, and their best songs off of 7/27 were when they were making pop music, like that tropical collaboration with Fetty Wap 'All In My Head (Flex)'!

Little Mix, on the other hand... well, Salute was the first clue that they could easily step into a pop/R&B mold and do just fine. They harmonized, they had great chemistry, they started taking a much more active role in writing the songs... and yet Syco - backed by Simon Cowell - insisted on pushing them as the plastic pop group, with all of the bottom shelf production that their label deigned to give them. Sure, it's led to international success and a string of #1 hits in the U.K., but it's almost meant that any effort to break them in the United States has been token, whereas if they had been packaged as the next Destiny's Child they'd probably be competitive in the U.S., especially over the past few years where R&B has been a lot bigger. And yes, Get Weird was a good pop album, but Salute was the evidence for me that they could do more... provided, of course, they had a budget or producers and guest stars who didn't suck. And that's why I had reservations about Glory Days, because it looked like it was going even more pop, and I had zero faith Syco would actually give them the production to make great pop music in the mold of Girls Aloud or even The Spice Girls. To put it another way, there was cowriting credits from Meghan Trainor and their only guest star on this record was Charlie Puth. All of that gave me a real sinking feeling, but hey, 'Shout Out To My Ex' was good, this could turn out well, right?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - november 12, 2016 (VIDEO)

Well, this was a diverse week. Not precisely a great week, but definitely an interesting one. Only three weeks of the Billboard year, though, so anything could happen...

Next up, though - well, you'll see, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - november 12, 2016

This was a weird week on the Hot 100. All of a sudden the chart shifting momentum seemed to dry up, and yet we got a whole pile of new arrivals and returning entries spanning every genre except country. It was a lumpy, misshapen sort of week that would normally be fascinating to talk about...

Monday, November 9, 2015

video review: 'get weird' by little mix

Well, you all wanted it, you got it.

Next up we've got a fair amount of pop with Ellie Goulding and Grimes, but also country with Eric Church's surprise record and Tim McGraw's new album and holy god this week is going to be so damn busy - so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

album review: 'get weird' by little mix

Let's return to the subject of competition.

Now those of you who've been watching since earlier this year know that I opened up my review of Fifth Harmony with the same topic - and that's not a coincidence, because if we're looking for a classic example of Simon Cowell playing labelmates against each other in order to spark up lucrative controversy, it's here. After all, it's a proven formula: the younger, more American-accessible group going against the older, more refined group that's achieved worldwide success. It's N'Sync vs. The Backstreet Boys all over again... and as such, it shouldn't be a surprise which one I'd consider as the better one.

And this shouldn't be that much of a surprise: when I covered Little Mix's Salute early last year, I was startled how much I ended up liking it, with the girls having solid chemistry, pretty decent vocal arrangements and real talent and working with good writers while having a solid writing presence themselves. Hell, their song 'Competition' was exceptionally close to landing on my year-end list for my favourite songs of 2014 - why it wasn't a single, I have absolutely no idea, especially considering that it would have wiped the floor with Fifth Harmony's 'Worth It', a song that for some ungodly reason became a hit playing in a more derivative template. Now I don't want to oversell Salute, because it had its fair share of problems, most notably in production and instrumentation, which tried to retrace 90s pop R&B with mixed results. It really could have benefited from a real budget or a cohesive production team like Girls Aloud had with Xenomania - which might as well be the tagline reviewing any album from Syco Music, so thanks for that, Simon Cowell.

As such, I had slightly mixed emotions going into Get Weird, Little Mix's third album. On the one hand, giving them a guest appearance from Jason Derulo smacked of desperation for a US crossover, and I had no faith whatsoever Simon Cowell was going to give them production to be really stand out; as much as the album title promised that they'd Get Weird, I didn't buy it for a second. On the other hand, I found some writers when digging through the liner notes that were promising, and there still was a core of real talent behind this group. So I gave Get Weird a chance - how does it hold up?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 29, 2015 (VIDEO)

So the reason this is late is because my computer decided that it no longer wanted to render the correct file format - for no adequately explained reason. I suspect it's an issue as my computer constantly tries to update to Windows 10 despite the fact that said update will not promote properly on my particular machine, but fortunately I have ways around this.

Next up... I dunno, probably B.o.B. or Mick Jenkins, just to get them out of my system and try desperately to get back on schedule. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 29, 2015

Right, so let's explain why this didn't drop on its regular Tuesday timeslot. Well, believe it or not, I suspect it wasn't Billboard's fault the charts were delayed, mostly because the sales data that they got from Nielsen surrounding a certain song was wildly inaccurate, originally placing its debut in the top ten instead of midway down the chart where it belongs. This frantic revision - which other chart analysts had already estimated properly earlier this week - caused Billboard to delay a day to make sure the numbers are in properly on what was otherwise a pretty regular week.

Monday, February 3, 2014

video review: 'salute' by little mix

Got a lot of requests to cover this one, so I did. Nice how that works, especially when the album is actually good.

Next up will either be Eric Paslay or Broken Bells. Stay tuned!

album review: 'salute' by little mix

Let me explain a bit how my schedule works. At the beginning of each month, I go through the lists of albums to be released and choose the ones I want to cover. Throughout the month, I make sure to go through the list multiple times to update it, if by some chance I miss an album or someone surprises me (hi, Beyonce!). And when it comes to albums with release dates that are different for international audiences, I tend to be ambivalent on which date I choose - if I the month is busy, I'll typically choose the later one.

That's the main reason why I didn't cover Little Mix's album Salute when it came out late last year. I rationalized that since it had an American release date in February and given my nightmarish schedule in October and November, I figured a delay until 2014 was fine. But even with that in mind, I wasn't really excited to cover this record. I've said in the past that I'm not ashamed of my liking of boy bands or even acts like S Club 7, but I've had mixed luck with girl groups. My favourite is probably still Girls Aloud, but that was more for the phenomenal production work of Xenomania rather than the girls' individual performances. And while I'm mostly ambivalent to positive on The Spice Girls (they've got some great singles, but the albums are the furthest thing from cohesive or all that solid), I really couldn't stand Destiny's Child, who I always thought was the poor man's TLC and never really grew beyond being a jump-off platform for Beyonce (because that's what the band was). 

And maybe that was the reason I was a little reticent against approaching Little Mix's second album, because the band made it clear they were moving away from the 'club-dance' scene towards R&B-flavoured pop, and while I don't dislike the genre, it's not something that always interests me, particularly when it's backed by Simon Cowell's record label. And that's the other problem - Simon Cowell has a bad reputation among music circles over the past decade for making sterile copies of what's popular in pop music rather than innovating, and he proved that last year with the insane overproduction on Little Mix's label mates Fifth Harmony, another girl group that never really resonated with me. In other words, I didn't have a good feeling about Salute; was I wrong?