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Album of 2018: 'LM5'

A Year of Tough Competition but Little Mix Have Outdone Themselves

Image from HMV Website

As someone who appreciates music from all genres, my opinion on music is varied.  Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd is the album I consider to be the best of all time; however my personal favourite album of all time is Eye to the Telescope by KT Tunstall.  Selecting LM5 as the best album of this year for me was tough and I absolutely have to give a shout out to Janelle Monae with Dirty Computer and Ariana Grande with Sweetner; however, Little Mix just delivered for me in 2018.

Let's begin by discussing the fact that Little Mix are easily the best girl group to have existed in music in a long time. They have all the fun of the Spice Girls, the empowerment of Destiny's Child and the raw talent of older groups like The Supremes. The four women (Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson, and Leigh-Anne Pinnock) each have individually strong voices that come through in their music however when they sing together it is literal heaven. If you don't believe me YouTube some of their acapella performances to see how immensely talented these women are.

LM5 is their fifth album and it's clear to see how much they've grown as a band.  The entire album, much like previous albums, is about empowering their fans, with strong messages about being yourself and loving your own skin.  However, LM5 also gives us a more mature sound from Little Mix that we have had a preview of before but not quite of this calibre.  

Each song from the album will be broken down slightly before the album as a whole is analysed. I'm pretty sure once you listen to it you will agree that Little Mix have outdone themselves.

1. "The National Manthem"

So we literally open with a thirty second intro that is completely acapella and showcases just how talented these four women are. The harmonies are on point and you can actually pick out each individual voice in the group without it taking away from the song. You can tell that Little Mix have been performing this way since their start on The X Factor back in 2011, they're that good.

Favourite Lyric: She's a bad bitch, made up of magic.

2. "Woman Like Me" (ft. Nicki Minaj)

From "The National Manthem" we go straight into one of their singles "Woman Like Me."  I'm going to be honest, 2018 has not been Nicki Minaj's year; however, she lays down an excellent feature in this song (however not the best feature on the album). Shoutout to Jess Glynne and Ed Sheeran who wrote the song which no doubt is an empowering anthem for women everywhere now. The slight reggae beat doubled up with an R&B feel makes it super easy to get into the vibe of this song.

Favourite Lyric: Insecure but I'm working with it.

Me too, Little Mix. Me too.

3. "Think About Us"

A strong opening from Perrie before Jade takes us into the beat. I love this song for many reasons but mostly because it feels like it wouldn't be lost next to "Despacito" but also has a nineties diva vibe when the piano plays in certain sections. I can't be the only one who hears it.

Favourite Lyric: When the music gets too loud, and the girls are in the crowd, do you think about us?

4. "Strip" (ft Sharaya J.)

There is so much to love about this song that I genuinely don't know where to start. The beginning? Sounds good. Little Mix begin acapella once again before we hear, what's that?... yes, fucking high heels in the background. Call out the patriarchy, ladies! The message. Yes. Love who you are, love your own skin, who cares what others say about you. Also had never heard of Sharaya J until this video but here she is laying out the best feature on this album, possibly the best feature Little Mix have ever had. This song honestly means so much because the message is clear and powerful but you can still dance to it in a club. The whole song feels like Little Mix are giving the middle finger to everyone who hates on them and I am here for it.

Favourite Lyric: The whole damn song but if I have to choose: Money won't buy you what confidence will.

A bop guys, an actual bop.

5. "Monster in Me"

I personally love Jesy's voice and she gives us a beautiful intro into this song. She has a rather underrated voice but I will definitely be giving her some shoutouts later on in the album. Also check out Little Mix's cover of Rihanna's "Love on the Brain" 'cause Jesy kills it. "Monster in Me" is a song that sneaks up on you. It's very subtle but still catchy and really showcases how well their voices work together.

Favourite Lyric: Squeeze a little tighter, 'til we can't breathe.

6. "Joan of Arc"

Again Little Mix are hitting us with with songs that have an inspiring message in the lyrics but this epic beat that you can't help but move to. Perrie is absolutely killing it with that voice. This song is basically calling out all the critics of feminism and telling them to fuck off and I respect it. Leigh-Anne also killing it, ending the song with a bang. These women are just ridiculously talented and awe-inspiring. I would literally worship them as Goddesses.

Favourite lyric: I don't need a man, if I'm loving you it's cause I can. (Again super hard to choose.)

7. "Love a Girl Right"

We now live in a world where we are slowly realising that certain things have not aged well, like Friends. "The Thong Song" by Sisqo is one of those things however Little Mix have taken that hypnotic beat and flipped the lyrics on their head. Leigh-Anne brings us right into this song and you just want to worship the ground she walks on. Then that chorus where the harmonies are tight and Perrie is just doing her thing. What an anthem.

Favourite lyric: You know I'll be watchin' you, 'cause she the baddest thing to ever happen to ya, and that's the truth. Don't make me have to hurt ya, 'cause I know right now, we're cool, but if I ever hear you mess this up, I'm comin' after you.

Trust me, all girls are like this with their friends. You fuck with her, you fuck with all of us.

8. "American Boy"

A song with a story and nice enough chorus but not a bop. However, with 18 songs on the album not all of them are going to be amazing. This is the first song on the album I've thought wasn't fantastic, but that doesn't mean it isn't still a good song with a strong beat and good vocals.

Favourite lyric: And he says that I'm the one, but she's the one that got away, and he never knew her real name.

9. "Told You So"

Jesy fucking Nelson guys. Her voice with an acoustic guitar sounds so good. Jade is up in here hitting all sorts of high notes. Leigh-Anne speaking the truth which I am living for. Perrie delivering the power once again. This is a song about the true power of friendships in which we can comfort each other without saying those dreaded words, I told you so. An absolute gem of a song that will be amazing to hear live.

Favourite lyric: To be honest, his best friend was hotter than him.

The shade.

10. "Wasabi"

Controversial, but this is my favourite song on the album. The second that beat comes in I am here for it. Little Mix often create songs where I'm not sure where the beat is going. "Strip" is a great example of this, but "Wasabi" inserts a bit of a rock in the chorus for Jesy to absolutely kill. This song just makes me so happy because the vocals are on point and the beat is so infectious—plus it's about how people talk about their backs and how they don't give a shit anymore.

Favourite lyric: I bet they're gonna break up, but what the hell do you know?

A tune if I've ever heard one.

11. "More Than Words" (ft Kamille)

The chorus in this song is just beautiful and I think it takes immense vocal talent to pull that off. The beat of that drum with the power of their voices is just incredible. Not my favourite single off the album but powerful nonetheless.

Favourite lyric: I find peace in every story you told, I think of you, I'll never be alone.

12. "Motivate"

This whole album with this song in particular has been giving me some Beyonce vibes and I'm not sure I can really explain why. It might be the pacing or the new beats but it's a vibe that I'm here for. Also I did mention earlier that Little Mix were taking on more mature themes and this song is definitely evidence of this.

Favourite lyric: Drunk or sober, he never let me down when he go lower.

13. "Notice"

Very 50 Shades of Grey ,I have to admit. Sensual, sexy but sad when you hear the lyrics. A song about how women put in all this effort for it to go unnoticed and questioning the point of trying. A brilliantly clever song.

Favourite lyric: Yeah, I'ma take off if you make me wait.

14. "The Cure"

Inspiring. A song about growth and more specifically about their growth. These young women have all battled with different demons and grown from those struggles. This song is their way of sharing that growth with fans who might be going through similar struggles. Vocals on point—Leigh-Anne, I'm looking at you.

Favourite lyric: This happiness was always inside me, but Lord, it took a minute to find me.

15. "Forget You Not"

Catchy and shows off Jesy's voice brilliantly but not a particularly strong song on the album. However there's not a song on this album that I would skip over which is impressive.

Favourite lyric: But it's no fun being hot on your own.

16. "Woman's World"

An honest song about what it's like to be a woman in this world. I think this is very much geared towards men who don't understand the little ways that it's harder for women to function in society. Such a powerful song that is begging for change in the world and acknowledges that men and women have to work together to solve it. Also Perrie is killing it.

Favourite lyric: And if you can't see that it's gotta change, only want the body and not the brains, if you think that's the way it works, you ain't lived in a woman's world.

17. "The Cure" (Stripped)

Beautiful. If even after hearing all the songs on this album you doubted the raw talent and power of Little Mix's voices then this will convince you. The harmonies couldn't be any tighter and you can feel their love for this song.

Favourite lyric: I was a little messed up but I'm not anymore.

18. "Only You" (ft Cheat Codes)

Vocally this song is tight but admittedly it took a while to grow on me. It's still nowhere near my favourite song on the album but a great addition and feels like the perfect way to end this frankly fantastic album.

Favourite lyric: Did I let go of your hand for a castle made of sand?

***

Eighteen songs is a lot but I find that every song on this album has a purpose and every song has been carefully thought about in order to create an album that has clear themes of empowerment, self-love, and feminism. Little Mix have always stood for these things but this album has only made it clearer that they know their fanbase and how to inspire them.

The thing I love most about Little Mix which translates to this album is how much they love each other and how much fun they have working together. You can hear it in the way they sing, you can see it in interviews of them together. When Little Mix were on The X Factor Gary Barlow stated that the band was screaming out for a lead singer, and it would have been super easy for them to push Perrie into that role and for them to fade into the background like every other X Factor winner, but they didn't. They make every song equal—there is no lead singer in Little Mix. Instead we have four genuinely talented women who are aware and have always been aware that they are stronger being different and that is what makes this album the greatest album of 2018 for me.

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