‘Ladies all around the world / Listen up we’re looking for recruits,’ Little Mix chant on ‘Salute,’ the title track of their brilliant new album. Beginning with an air raid siren – a warning and call to action – the song builds to a frantic and frenetic climax. It’s the perfect, in-your-face opening track.
Up next, ‘Move,’ the brilliant lead single is a stark contrast. Sparse and built from repetitive vocal hooks the pop-soul vocals again build to a frenzy and then drop out for the hook-laden chorus. The clear intention on this record is to create an album that will attract audiences both at home and in the US. It’s dangerous territory, but luckily the girls have strong enough vocals to sing R&B convincingly.
‘Little Me’ sees the band continue the theme of self-empowerment that began on their dÃ©but. The song was written, the band explained, as a message to their younger selves. It’s a mature effort, with surprisingly poignant and affecting lyrics. The vocals are both passionate and emotive.
‘About The Boy’ is a 90s influenced funky pop track, with a really great rhythm. An ode to the perfect guy: ‘No need to try, he’s just right,’ the girls sing. It’s a familiar sound, something Louise might have released in the 90s, which is intended as a compliment.
Beginning with a perfectly harmonised a capella intro, ‘Boy’ is an album highlight. With the soulful voices of En Vogue, who the girls covered during their time on The X Factor and the attitude of early Destiny’s Child, the track would be a great single.
‘Mr Loverboy’ continues the 90s sound, and wouldn’t sound too out of place on an early Eternal album. With its simple piano rhythm, funky synth licks and simple but effective chorus, it seems Little Mix have found a great sound for themselves.
‘A Different Beat’ sees Little Mix back in Marching Band mode, ‘We’re marching for love / So turn up the drums’. It’s a stunning track and would be a great summer single. ‘Nothing Feels Like You’ has a similar vibe, but with more carnival elements. They’re both really uplifting tracks, which should get a great response in concert.
The ‘Spice Up Your Life’-inspired ‘See You Now’ begins with chanting and builds to a wonderful chorus in which the girls sing to all those that doubted them, ‘They said I couldn’t / They told me that I wouldn’t / But if they could see me now’. The girls have earned every right to this amount of confidence with such an assured collection of songs.
‘They Just Don’t Know You’ shares similarities with Destiny’s Child’s ‘The Story of Beauty’ in terms of its sound and lyrical content. Little Mix sing to the man they love, despite their families not liking him: ‘They just don’t know you / Like I do’. Both this track and ‘See You Now’ were co-penned by Nicola Roberts and are great additions to the deluxe edition of the album.
Penned by All Saints‘ Shaznay Lewis, ‘Stand Down’ is a defiant and attitude-laden track to end the album. ‘It’s time to drop your sticks and stones,’ the girls spit at those who doubt them. ‘Lock up all your thoughts and throw away the key,’ they cry as they sing about being positive despite the negativity.
Salute is an absolute killer of an album. Despite a few too many ballads that stop it being a perfect listen, it’s fair that the girls, who really can sing, get to showcase their voices on the slower numbers. But it’s during the fantastic uptempo numbers that the girls really get to do what they do best. Inspire, empower and spread positivity with their joyous and jubilant music.
Standout Tracks: ‘Salute’ / ‘Move’ / ‘Little Me’ / ‘Nothing Feels Like You’ / ‘Boy’ / ‘Different Beat’