Following on from leaving Simon Cowell’s label after 2018’s LM5, Little Mix are back with their sixth studio album, ‘Confetti’.
From the first bars of ‘Break Up Song’ – both the first track and the lead single – you’re immediately transported to the mid 2010s and before, when life was simpler. It feels nostalgic and is feels natural for Little Mix. It took a while for it to grow on me since its’ release at the start of the year, although maybe that’s the best thing about the singles. They’ve all aged like a fine wine.
Maybe not Holiday, but even then, I look back at it with fondness. Perhaps it was lost between other singles – ‘Sweet Melody’ and ‘Happiness’ are two of my favourite songs of the year. The group’s famed harmonies take centre stage in the former, providing the perfect backing for a catchy pop chorus, boosted by the modern reggaeton beats which have dominated charts for a few years now. By the time ‘Happiness’ comes in, you’re five songs in to an incredible album, which despite all being singles, have the same sonic tone. This is my favourite track. ‘Happiness’ manages to combine an 80s feel with drum and bass breakbeats and Little Mix’s own signature sound – a combination which I never knew I needed.
The title track, ‘Confetti’ was released as the sixth single on Wednesday. I don’t recall too many artists dropping a last single two days before the final album before Little Mix did it themselves in 2018, but both Bring Me The Horizon and Dua Lipa have done it right before number one albums, so it must work. In a world where singles preceding albums are less important, and are more used for stand-alone tracks, it;s refreshing to see artists sticking with the modern original formula while adapting it for their own benefit. As a track, it’s really good and keeps up the nostalgic cohesion of the album.
‘Not A Pop Song’ was the single I vibed with least. I don’t mind it, but it truly is a pop song – just not Western one. It wouldn’t be out of place as a ballad on Blackpink’s ‘The Album’ – whether it’s the jarring pre-chorus vocals or the chanted ‘I Don’t Give A What!”. It’s decent, but it’s not for me.
The first half of the album is all singles, while the last seven tracks are all new. ‘Nothing But My Feelings’ could easily have come off of ‘Get Weird’ or ‘Glory Days’. It works well, and listening to it with headphones will bring out the thumping bass. It’s not the freshest song Little Mix have ever done, but it still shows that six albums in, they want to innovate. ‘Gloves Up’ has a brilliant, electronic intro, but by the chorus turns into trademark Little Mix. The K-pop influences continue with a droning synth throughout, but the whole song feels very daring. I’ve listened once, but I think in a few days time it will be up there with ‘Happiness’ as one of my favourites.
‘A Mess (Happy 4 U)’ is very self-reflective on a former relationship. Maybe it could be about a few of their previous relationships, who knows? It’s not my favourite song but it feels deeper than a lot of the other tracks, meaning-wise, and I appreciate the more serious edge. ‘My Love Won’t Let You Down’ shows a really vulnerable side, and for some reason, I feel that if this piano ballad is released as a single, it would become ‘Confetti”s biggest hit. The harmonies are incredible, and it feels made for the cold, lengthening, autumn-winter nights. I wasn’t expecting to like this track, but it built and built to a rousing finale which sets this one apart from the crowd.
‘Rendezvous’ again benefits from a searing bass, trademark harmonies and more experimental synths. The synths add a dark edge to the song which stop it being a boring album track. ‘If You Want My Love’ is unconventional in it’s structure, with the title being shouted over an almost hardstep drum beat at various intervals. It feels like a dark Eurovision track. If we sent this to Rotterdam in May 2021, I have a feeling we would do really well (the BBC won’t listen to me though). It’s more of the experimental edge.
‘Breathe’ is the final song. CHRISTMAS. It feels like it, with the backing harmonies, crowd noise, bells and searing organ. A choir could easily fill this song out. It’s such a fitting finale to – wait for it – the pop album of the year. There’s zero skips and at least ten of thirteen could easily be chart hits. ‘Confetti’ has a mature sound which girl groups of the past have largely failed to achieve (Girls Aloud being the notable exception – ‘2008’s Out Of Control is an incredible album). I think it’s safe to say Confetti is Little Mix’s best album to date – every little detail has been attended to, and it feels both radio-friendly and coherent.
Ryan’s Rating: 9.5/10