I was cynical at first to listen to another half ass attempt by the music industry to produce what they think the market needs, "Salute" by X-Factor champions Little Mix wasn't entirely what I expected. With an obvious early 2000s influence and attitudes that match that of the early urban pop movement, their essence is that of "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child and Christina's one powerful body image song. What surprises me about these lasses from England is that their debut singles, their image and the whole persona is about strength in women. Call them, Beyonce for tweens. Their album title song "Salute" is a power stance against men thinking they are "just pretty things". "If you're a woman, let me see your hands up SALUTE". Keeping in mind that the target age group for Little Mix is that of One Direction, they have done a pretty good job of installing positive and strong female ideologies at a young age.
Though the album rings true of a pop album it doesn't victimize women or ridicule stereotypes and nor does it cater to the sex sells, talent doesn't side of music. "Salute" embraces differences and speaks of inner strength, "Little Me" being the prime point of difference in pop music. The song speaks to their younger selves and tells them to "Speak up, shout out, talk a bit louder, be a bit prouder". "Little Me" takes "Roar" by Katy Perry, shakes it and says, "Let me show you how to flatter your fellow women".
A technique that is noticeable through out the whole album is their ability to chant and almost preach what they are saying, it works well because it's subtracts the pop out of their music and adds more urban which suits their sometimes weaker voices. "These Four Walls" is heart breaking, or for me - it's a memorable track because it captures a break up perfectly, but their vocals aren't strong which almost works in their favour because as they sing, you can hear the heartbreak.
Don't let the stomp, fight, roar attitude trick you though. There is some questionable songs on there "See Me Now" was kind of just to back up the fact that they are ass kicking ladies but has a misplaced ethnicity appreciation through it that lacks any sense. "Towers" tries to communicate a really odd analogy that doesn't pack any punch at all. "They Don't Know You" is a weirdly serious song about justifying a partner to a non accepting family.
The more I listened to this album the more impressed I became that it wasn't just another pop album. It packs its punches and makes for some good anthems for the young ones (and yes, me and my friends when we are drinking and think we can sing and be empowered women). It's a catchy debut, they're gorgeous and fairly diverse for a pop group from X-Factor. My verdict: The fact that "Salute" is what 12 year old girls have the availability to listen to makes me smile.
Best Tracks: "Move" "Salute" "Stand Down" "Little Me" (check the unplugged) "A Different Beat" ▼