Tuesday 20 November 2012

Little Mix - DNA

For all intents and purposes, Little Mix are the new Girls Aloud – both musically and in their conception on a reality TV programme.  Yet where Girls Aloud brought girl power kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, Little Mix are unable to escape the girl band template that previous groups have moulded.

‘DNA’ is essentially girl band 101.  Like Girls Aloud, there are some solid pop tunes on offer, with Going Nowhere written by GA’s own Nicola Roberts.  But there’s a strong 90s RnB vibe on ‘DNA’ – clearly inspired by the girls’ X-Factor performance of En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go.  In fact, Red Planet is essentially a re-working of the same track, featuring T-Boz of TLC fame.  The Shaznay Lewis penned How Ya Doin’ (which includes a sample from De La Soul’s Ring Ring Ring) is a throwback to All Saints and their own Booty Call with its phone call intro and outro.  Then there’s Stereo Soldier with its Destiny’s Child style snare rhythms from Lose My Breath and Leona Lewis-esque middle-eight; the Beyonce influenced debut single Wings; and the extravagant Jessie J-esque warbler Change Your Life recently performed on Children In Need.  Even the album’s cover art is almost imitating Stooshe.

It all leads to an album that lacks individuality – a bit like the girl’s themselves, who seem more famous for dating various members of boy band equivalent One Direction.  The upbeat tracks certainly outshine the slushy ballads and current single DNA is a clear highlight with its stuttering and infectious chorus, matched by a strong dub-step beat. 

We Are Who We Are is another high point.  It might be the girls’ answer to TLC’s Unpretty, but it’s the most honest and fun track on the album and an obvious future single.  Little Mix are all about female empowerment which this songs encapsulates.  Overall, though, ‘DNA’ is in need of an injection of personality – as it stands, this debut is too safe.


Gizzle's Choice:
* How Ya Doin'
* We Are Who We Are

Listen: 'DNA' is available now.

Watch: The girls will be performing across the UK at the start of 2013.