Kate Robertson’s seven reasons why Little Mix are the best Top 40 act right now.
I could spend a solid eight hours collating a list of reasons why Little Mix are brilliant. I could rate the choreography from each of their music videos, compile track-by-track analyses of their albums, and discuss at length how they’ve managed to be five years deep and still sitting on top. I probably will one day, but now they’ve announced a long-awaited NZ show it seems as good a time as any to crank up the fandom and put forward my case for Little Mix being the best Top 40 act around right now.
Their music shouldn’t be tolerable
If Little Mix were candy, they’d be the fructose-filled kind the school dentist tells you to steer clear of. It’s sickeningly sweet, and anytime there’s an added visual element it becomes even bigger and brighter. They haven’t bought into the trend of the moment – the dreamily-lit music videos shot beneath a haze of muted blues and pinks – no, they’re here to let off party poppers, spray paint the walls orange, and douse it all in sparkles. You can spend a lot of time listening to their albums and waiting for the wave of nausea to kick in, but it never comes. They’ve found themselves a pocket of pop music that has you dancing in the kitchen at 9am on a Saturday, can be easily manipulated into Christmas music, and is of a calibre deemed worthy of the Royal Variety Show.
In a time when the internet allows us to drag someone to a point of no return for the smallest of missteps, Little Mix are here reminding us that it’s totally cool and chill to want to live your life covered in glitter, drinking champagne from the bottle, and flirting with hot babes, while also being a badass career woman and taking shit from no one. There’s nothing ‘problematic’ about that. All three of those things can coexist in a self-aware and politically correct world. We’re all smart enough to know this already, but it’s something that’s still not reinforced enough in pop culture, where internet trolls are eager to tear down anyone who falls short of perfection. Little Mix, killer wardrobing aside, feel just like us, problematic exes and all.
They bridge the gap between teen stars and ‘grown up’ musicians
Yep, they’ve got their own Barbie dolls, but they’re also totally age appropriate. The odd R16 reference goes a long way in giving teenagers something to laugh about, and reminds anyone older that they’re listening to four grown women dealing with grown women problems. I mean, how good is it being able to indulge in a pop group that isn’t a washed up touring version of what they used to be?
There is a Little Mix song for all of the feels
I’ve celebrated new jobs with their biggest anthems, sought comfort in their girl power during times of self-doubt, and screamed along to ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ so loudly on the front porch that I’m surprised my flatmate and I haven’t had our lease terminated. Unless in the wake of an album release, I don’t listen to their music all day, every day, but they’re always there, hiding in gym playlists, dominating road trips, or curing the loneliest of Sunday nights. Four albums might not seem like an extensive back catalogue, but the sheer length of these albums combined with a season’s worth of X Factor UK performances gives an impressive pool to choose from.
They’ve achieved the (mostly) unachievable
There’s a fridge magnet somewhere that says ‘progress isn’t linear’. Well, Little Mix don’t own that magnet. Their business model is a carbon copy of One Direction’s (Little Mix’s former labelmates at Simon Cowell’s Syco label and agency). They strategically release an album every Christmas, tour extensively, and have an endless stream of merchandise. The pressure of churning out an album per year proved too much for the 1D boys, and I would argue that musically they peaked around the third album. Hell, most bands wouldn’t be able to sustain such a gruelling writing/recording/touring schedule, but Little Mix are four years deep and still killing it. Each album has been fractionally better than its predecessor, allowing them to maintain consistent growth while not shocking anyone or released a dud. Compare DNA, their debut, with Glory Days, their latest, and they’re leagues apart, but listen to all four albums in succession and the subtle progression is nothing short of brilliant.
Girlfriends know their way around a break-up
Between the four of them you get the idea they’ve been wronged just a few too many times. There’s a song for almost every kind of separation. Been cheated on? ‘F.U.’ Tempted to run back to a doomed relationship for the second time? ‘Towers’. Gotta cut a fuckboy loose? ‘Hair,’ and so on and so forth. And you know what? Not one of those songs is shrouded in cynicism or misery. Even the slowest of ballads have a hopefulness about them that is goddamn refreshing. All they need now is a song detailing how best to ghost a dry Tinder date and they’ll have every covered every base.
Girl power, obviously
It feels unfair to draw comparison with the Spice Girls, but the collective energy that comes from these four women is something we haven’t seen in such force since peak Spice-mania in the late 90s. Their ability to show vulnerability while still having this overwhelming strength, and serve up comebacks when people doubted they would is nothing short of inspiring. It’s mushy as hell, but Little Mix serve as a reminder that the bond you have with your closest girlfriends, a bond that is so easy to take for granted, is an unmoving foundation you build your life around, will always come back to, and is low-key the greatest thing ever.
Little Mix play Vector Arena in Auckland on Sunday 30 July 2017. Spark Thanks have an exclusive pre-sale for Spark customers, available from 12pm Wednesday 7 December to 12pm Friday 9 December.