Little Mix’s last album was mired in controversy. Released just days after it was announced that the British quartet had split from their label Syco, 2018’s LM5 was a confused mix of influences that reflected how the group were being pushed and pulled in different directions. Its follow-up, Confetti, is by contrast a fierce and mercifully coherent statement of independence.
Since they formed on The X Factor in 2011, Little Mix have traded in Girl Power, often taking cues from the movement/brand’s pioneers, the Spice Girls. They’ve become experts at the kiss-off anthem, from their early hit “Shout Out to My Ex” to Confetti single and opener “Break Up Song”, which races along a pulsing, Eighties-influenced synth beat. Further into the album, the genre gets a clever twist on “Not a Pop Song”, with its thinly veiled digs at former label boss Simon Cowell: “I don’t do what Simon says/ Get the message ’cos it’s read.”
Little Mix’s new talent show, The Search, seeks to form a group inspired by the ones who dominated the charts when members Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson and Perrie Edwards were pre-teens. This approach has clearly inspired the album too, with “If You Want My Love” and “Happiness” nodding to the silky R&B of groups such as TLC and Destiny’s Child. “Rendezvous”, while an album highlight, sounds an awful lot like “Buttons” by the Pussycat Dolls – for the most part, those retro influences mesh wonderfully with contemporary pop production.
Confetti doesn’t stray too far from the empowered glam pop that Little Mix have made their forte. Its 13 tracks are a polished mix of flirtatious bops and high-octane tracks that celebrate self-worth, with the moving torch song “Breathe” serving as the album’s closer. Sure, there’s nothing groundbreaking to be found here, but it does prove that Little Mix do just fine when they’re relying on their own instincts.
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