Little Mix - LM5
Little Mix don't really feel like they have their own identity. The group assembled as UK X-Factor group of non winners has released a number of pop hits throughout their career. They are far bigger across the pond, with girl groups not really gaining much traction in the US. The UK has always had a strange obsession with pop groups. From One Direction to the Spice Girls, these pop outfits always try to be a multi-ethnic swath of humanity with young looks and lots of vocal manipulation. This new record LM5 (their fifth record in case you didn't catch the title) follows firmly in those footsteps. Was Beyone's rap on The Carters a hit? Let's try to do some of that on "Strip". Is Hip hop delivery the biggest thing in R&B right now? Let's do that too. Anything to follow a trend rather than setting it. That is where this album fails, it doesn't have a single unique message throughout. Empowerment is a major theme on the entire record, which is fine, but becomes so overdone as the record continues on. The message is a wonderful one about loving yourself and claiming ones independence, but the package it is all wrapped up in is generic as hell. The songs of LM5 are well produced and tick all the boxes of a pop song, but the inspiration never feels like it's there. These aren't songs that the group hoped would work, these are aggregations that they knew would work.
The lyrics here also feel a bit disparate and thrown together. "Monster In Me" has a line about "haunting" but isn't that a realm that is typically left to ghosts not monsters? It's a small critique, but there are moments like that all over this record. "Joan of Arc" yet another female empowerment bop has some interesting production, but the lyrics are so incredibly bad. When the hip hop breakdowns happen during the song they could not sound more like appropriation if they tried. Do you feel like the album is missing a Carols Santana style vibe at this point, don't worry because "Love a Girl Right" is here to save you. It's just kind of laughable how willing this group is to just do other people's music and just sort of pass it off as their own. It's incredibly frustrating if you know what they are trying to imitate, but worse if you don't know and just assume Little Mix are having a unique perspective. The album is also inexplicably long at 17 tracks and just over 52 minutes just piling up more of the same track after track. Generic run of the mill pop and a seemingly inability to bring a style that makes a song their own means LM5 falls totally flat, very flat.
3.0 out of 10