When Little Mix aren’t busy making primetime nods to the LGBT community, slaying the homophobes with Drag Race references or owning the stage at G-A-Y, they’re off making some of Britain’s best girl pop.
To mark the release of Jade, Jesy, Perrie and Leigh-Anne’s fourth studio album Glory Days and their huge new single ‘Shout Out to My Ex’, we thought we’d look back at all of Little Mix’s singles and rank them in order of greatness…
Fresh off their historical win as the only group to ever win The X Factor came the inevitable sappy cover ballad. The song raced in at Number One on the Official UK Single Chart, but despite being one of their four char-toppers to date, it’s not one we’re in a rush to go back to. Despite showcasing their angelic vocals well, this Damien Rice cover is far from anything we wanted or needed from the girls.
13) Little Me
Little Mix’s sophomore album Salute was full of potential single choices, but ‘Little Me’, while a cute album track, didn’t really go anywhere as a single. There’s a nice, uplifting sentiment here but in terms of reflective moments, the superior ‘Towers’ and ‘These Four Walls’ were just screaming for a release.
12) Word Up!
The second and last cover to appear in the Little Mix back catalogue is ‘Word Up!’ a charity track released for BBC Sports Relief back in 2014. Though this doesn’t really add much to their singles discography, it gets extra points for its over the top and full of personality music video.
11) Secret Love Song ft. Jason Derulo
With lyrics like ‘Why can’t you hold me in the street? Why can’t I kiss you on the dancefloor’ the third ballad to appear here is often interpreted as a homage to Little Mix’s LGBT fans, something Jade ‘Queen of the Gays’ Thirlwall herself has confirmed. However, despite ‘SLS’ being a massive hit for the girls when it was released this time last year, the addition of Jason Derulo doesn’t quite work, especially when you see him busting out the robot amongst the girls’ emotion and angst during the video. For the full effect, listen to the stripped back, Jason-less ‘Secret Love Song Part 2’ off the album.
Here we have the first proper single from the girls and their second #1. Sticking to the theme of empowerment that runs through their entire discography, in this belter’s 3 minutes and 39 seconds we get a whole lot of everything; from harmonies to horns. Though it showed us a glimpse of what Little Mix really had to offer as a group, I think it’s safe to say that the foursome outdid themselves numerous times over the course of the 4 albums that were to come.
9) Change Your Life
A possibly forgotten gem in their discography and the highest ballad in this list, ‘Change Your Life’ is one of Little Mix’s most underrated singles. As well as the vocals, the girls’ distinct personalities really soar in this tear-jerking number.
8) How Ya Doin’? ft. Missy Elliott
‘How Ya Doin’?’ was the first time Little Mix ever collaborated with another artist on a single, and what better way to start than with legendary rapper Missy Elliott? ‘Hey,how ya doin’? Sorry you can’t get through,’ they taunt in their now instantly recognisably feisty tone. It might not be their most celebrated hit, but it showed the beginnings of sassy Little Mix really starting to perfect their brand.
7) Hair ft. Sean Paul
Pop rule number one: if you want to make something a smash, add an additional Sean Paul verse. ‘Hair’ may have frustratingly just missed out on the top ten in the charts, peaking at number 11, but it was still an instant with fans, much helped by a chaotic slumber party video in which the girls order five giant pizzas, jump around a mansion and attempt to ignore Sean Paul’s persistent Facetime attempts.
Overflowing with fearsome girl power comes ‘Salute’. Full of military themed metaphor, the third single off the album with the same name calls for us to stand up against any inner demons we may be battling. If you’re ever lucky enough to go and see the girls live, this towering stomper is always a total highlight, boasting their most intricate and exciting choreography.
5) Love Me Like You
Kicking off the top five, we have the Motown-infused ‘Love Me Like You’, which takes on the vintage sound of The Ronettes and The Supremes, and while complementing the ’60s sound, giving it a modern edge. Its ‘L-O-V-E’, middle-8 is one of Little Mix’s most infectious, as well as most iconic (especially if you remember how they mashed it into Black Magic when performing on The X Factor last year). Let’s face it though, it’s pretty much a Christmas song, which gives it an advantage and extra re-play-ability in the festive months. See also: ‘Love Me Like You: The Christmas Mix’ (which is exactly the same with a few added jinlges).
4) Shout Out To My Ex
As a lot of us have had our fair share of abhorrent exes and ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ has become that immediate middle finger of an anthem we didn’t know we needed in our lives. Though sticking to a very simple pop formula, the song still works as that fist pumping earworm it’s meant to be. It may be their most recent single, but it has already worked its way up there with the best of the girls’ discography.
‘Wings’ was immediately eclipsed in quality by its follow-up, ‘DNA’. This is an addictive, moody and rare example of Little Mix showing us their darker side, as well as being the estranged sister to Katy Perry’s ‘E.T.’ Vocally, it’s one of their most impressive up-tempos, where Perrie really shines with those big notes and Leigh-Anne gives us a unique and spooky talky-rapped middle-eight. Though Little Mix are going from strength to strength, we’d love to see them to re-visit their more menacing sound at some point in the future.
2) Black Magic
So much of the success of Little Mix is owed to ‘Black Magic’. The bouncing banger burst out of nowhere after a long break from the girls and went straight in at Number One for an impressive three weeks. It is, at this point, the band’s highest selling single by some margin (approaching 1 million combined sales in the UK) and kick-started new level of stardom for the girls. It’s not exactly difficult to work out why the British public took to this the way they did, from the first time hearing the opening line ‘All the girls on the block knocking at my door’, you just know it bops.
Topping our list is Little Mix’s most daring and intricate single, ‘Move’. It may not have been the immediate hit that their other lead singles became, but it’s the epitome of a ‘grower’.
Releasing ‘Move’ is the kind of risk we wish mainstream pop acts did more often: This R&B infused track relies less on Little Mix’s usual high-octane melody-led choruses and sells the song on more of a beat and rhythm. ‘Move’ is full of attitude and personality, and will always be an unforgettable moment in pop. Good on ya girls.
Glory Days is out now.
Words: Joe Passmore