The ladies of Little Mix have made it no secret just how vindicated they feel to be free from Simon Cowell’s watch.

In a messy state of affairs, the British girl group split from Cowell’s label Syco in 2018, just days before the release of their previous album, ‘LM5’. And where the quartet were markedly subdued on that record, their latest work tells a much different story. The anthemic ‘Not A Pop Song’ is Little Mix’s kiss off song to Cowell, with lyrics like “I don’t do what Simon says / Get the message ’cause it’s read / That’s just life, it never plays fair”.

This message of independence and taking control of their narrative is prevalent elsewhere, with ‘Sweet Melody’, Little Mix’s latest Top 10 hit in the UK, being one of the record’s most biting moments.

‘Gloves Up’ offers another empowerment anthem, and the group truly plays to their strengths here with the song’s soaring chorus, destined to be added to workout playlists everywhere. On the glossy title track, they bid farewell to a bad lover. “You’re missin’ me, but I’m finally free / I got what I need, so let it rain down like confetti,” they sing on the chorus.

Similarly to past albums, the group pays homage to sounds of the 80s and 90s. Opener ‘Break Up Song’ is Little Mix taking a page out of the 80s, with a euphoria reminiscent of 2015’s ‘Black Magic’. ‘Holiday’ jumps on the 2020 trend of funk-inspired synthpop, ‘Happiness’ is 90s R&B put through the modern music machine, and ‘If You Want My Love’ calls to mind Mario Winans’ hit ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’.

Little Mix have never been one to get experimental, which is why the Michael Bublé-sampling ‘Rendezvous’ is so immensely refreshing, and a real standout on the album. Beginning with futuristic warp sounds and trap beats, the song quickly morphs into a sensual invitation, with a rare feature of the group’s lower register.

As the curtains fall with album closer ‘Breathe’, it becomes apparent that ‘Confetti’ is Little Mix’s salute to their independence — a cohesive body of work that shows off both their vocal prowess and knack for crafting pop songs for the masses. While certain songs tend towards clichés and soulless bubblegum pop, there’s still no denying that Little Mix has managed to hold its own as one of, if not the most successful girl group in the world now. So pop the confetti that ‘Not A Pop Song’ isn’t their kiss off to the genre as a whole, because when they do it, they truly do it well.

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