"LM5" Marks Seven Years for Little Mix
by Anjali Shiyamsaran | published Jan. 11th, 2019
Have you ever been told to “sit like a lady”? Well, girl group Little Mix has something to say against that long-standing phrase, and they invited rapper Nicki Minaj to say it with them in their new song “Woman Like Me.” This dynamic lead single off of Little Mix's newest album provides a much-needed testament to the constraints placed on women’s behavior by society.
I first learned of Little Mix after watching their powerful live performance at the One Love Manchester benefit concert held by singer Ariana Grande in 2017. I immediately fell in love. Whether it was because of their incredible chemistry on stage or the unparalleled way their voices meshed together, I have become a firm believer that Little Mix is more than just another music group. Their lyrics and performances have started a cultural movement that exposes the way women are often mistreated and objectified by the media.
In 2011, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall entered the televised vocal competition "The X Factor UK" as solo contestants. Their participation as individual competitors fell short during the show’s first “bootcamp” challenge. However, after being put together by the judges in the hopes of creating a fresh new girl group, their time on "The X Factor" resulted in the first ever band to win the competition. After their historic win, Little Mix’s first album "DNA" broke the Spice Girls’ record for highest U.S. chart position for a British girl group's debut.
Their latest album “LM5” reflects the struggles the girls have faced over the last seven years individually and as a group. It celebrates a beautiful message of confidence, sisterhood and courage.
Friendship and Feminism
Little Mix has become an international icon for feminist spirit and genuine friendship as they have constantly defended each other against the media and promote girl power through their lyrics. It’s important to see the spotlight shine upon, in my opinion, one of the strongest relationships in the music industry today. For so long, these four girls — who came from diverse backgrounds and overcame different struggles — have shown the world how women can come together to support each other.
Through acts that can be as simple as internet polls asking viewers to choose between different female artists, the entertainment industry tends to senselessly pit women against one another. Posts like these depict female artists as competitors rather than talented and hardworking individuals. So, to watch a group of women rise above these limitations to appreciate each other's strength and potential is truly admirable.
The girls have spoken publicly about their reviews from former Spice Girl Mel C and other critics when it comes to the group’s fashion choices. The recently released music video for their single “Strip,” for example, has faced heat from some critics because the girls are shown naked except for insulting labels written over their bodies. The single is meant to empower and encourage all people to proudly embrace their bodies as well as their insecurities. Its music video features many influential women, including Muslim author and blogger Dina Tokio and Female Genital Mutilation campaigner Nimco Ali. Despite the song's meaningful intention, some believe the video acted as an excuse for the girls to appear provocatively in order to sell records. This sort of criticism isn’t new to the group who has faced backlash for their revealing clothing several times in the past. When asked about such criticism from others, they explain that the backlash doesn’t compare to the inspiration and authenticity they invoke in their fans through their art.
Songs on the Album
“LM5” has 14 songs total and features artists such as Nicki Minaj, Kamille and Sharaya J.
One of my personal favorite tracks includes “Woman Like Me,” a pop and reggae fusion with an urban twist. In addition to the empowering and honest leading vocals, Nicki Minaj’s groovy verse adds more sass to the single with the lines “Uh, a million I'm getting my billy on. Greatest of all time, 'cause I'm a chameleon.”
The self-defending pop song “Told You So” is another uplifting track on the album, representing an unconditional friendship that lasts through the most difficult of heartbreaks. Its chorus goes, "Girl, just come round mine tonight. I've got wine and make-up wipes. I'll hold you, I'll hold you."
“Notice” is yet another one of my favorites, as the song signals the bolder and more mature phase the album enters compared to the group’s previous records. The song gives off a seductive vibe, and is about demanding attention from one's partner as the girls sing, "I don't think you notice, so what's the point of wearing nothing if you never notice?"
More Than Words
In my opinion, the band has adapted more of an honest and influential sound since their previous albums, and their overall message feels like a genuine and radical response to the lack of gender equality in today’s society. I would say that “LM5” is Little Mix’s best studio album yet, which only excites me for their future ones to come. “LM5” is out now for purchase, or you can listen to it on YouTube or Spotify.