Growing up, I absolutely loved British girl groups. All Saints, Spice Girls, Sugababes, Girls Aloud, Cleopatra, Mis-Teeq, and Atomic Kitten have all slayed me over the years in some way, shape, or form, but then something happened: British girl groups got shitty. I mean, like, really shitty. All the good ones either disbanded or nosedived into mediocrity, and in their place came a new wave of groups, each one more basic than the next, with unoriginal images, boring members, generic music, and absolutely zero decent choreography.
Stooshe seemed to break the trend of awful British girl bands with their stunning debut this year, while X Factor winners Little Mix have racked up a tonne of press after being labelled ‘the next big thing’ by the British media. I gotta admit, I pretty much hated Little Mix after Youtubing them a while back and witnessing the most hideously ridiculous performance of Katy Perry’s “E.T.” possibly imaginable, but now that Little Mix’s first single “Wings” has officially arrived, I have to say that I kinda like it.
I know, I can’t believe it either.
Produced by English trio TMS (who have previously helmed hits for the likes of Tinchy Stryder, Wretch 32, and Big Dick Dappy), “Wings” is a storm of hand claps, drums, and dubstep wobbles, with the old-school sass of one of Christina Aguilera’s retro Burlesque bangers and a splash of Beyonce’s swag. With such a busy beat, Little Mix make sure that their voices don’t get lost in the noise, serving up soulful harmonies and diva wailing that proves that they’re vocalists before anything else.
“Wings” is a bit of a curve ball from the generic mess I was expecting, sounding much closer to something a group like SECRET or Brown Eyed Girls would release, rather than the usual forgettable fodder we get from X Factor acts.
Stooshe’s style has definitely rubbed off on Little Mix.
The one bad thing about “Wings” –and it’s a big thing– is the lyrics. With such bold production, Little Mix could have come out the gate with something really interesting and different, but instead they’re recycling the same empowering rubbish we’ve heard a million times before. Their corny girl power sentiments make “Wings” feel less exciting than it really is, and unlike the ballsy Stooshe and Spice Girls, I’m not buying Little Mix’s manufactured attitude for a second.
But it’s not a total turd, and for a British girl group these days, that’s a major achievement.