It is a fact universally acknowledged that no one does pop like Little Mix. OK, so maybe their last album was a bit of a misfire but that’s only by the ridiculously high standards they set for themselves with their first two. Even though it seems spurious that a relatively young band can have Glory Days, this certainly is a hark back to those DNA moments rather than the Get Weird nonsense.
But Little Mix do still feel like a band in transition. If Salute had a pure statement of stomping intent, this record finds it hard to sit between the more pointed pop jams (Touch) and some sort of sub-Stooshe-meets Fifth Harmony that’s crystallised in both Oops and You Gotta Not, the latter of which has Meghan Trainor‘s clammy fingerprints all over it.
Still, these girls certainly know how to have fun with their material. Down & Dirty is rescued by a deliciously dark beat (“I’m bringing the fire so call me Daenerys”) before giving way to one of the group’s best ever songs to date. Power is spiky, it isn’t afraid to take risks, and it gives a full platform to all four personalities in a way that entire albums can’t do for some people.
If they managed to maintain that tone then Glory Days would feel like a much bigger success. When they go frothy and pop it doesn’t quite work for them as much as it used to, but when they add a little depth like in No More Sad Songs and the non-stop party of Private Show then we do get a glimpse of just how much of a juggernaut Little Mix can be. The content is certainly more adult and the girls are indeed growing with each release (albeit at their own pace); if their musical approach could catch up with that ethos it wouldn’t be the worst thing for a band whose glory days still feel like they’re way ahead of them.