Little Mix – Boy
We often forget that the girls and boys who pop up as teenagers on talent shows like Popstars and The X Factor aren’t just people who want to be popstars because it beats applying for unpaid internships at media agencies, but actual bona fide musicians. Little Mix – and especially Jesy Nelson, who is clearly LM’s version of Nicola Roberts – were such teenagers.
During their time on The X Factor we heard all about Jesy’s troubles with Twitter bullies, their search for a new name, how ‘crazy’ it is being in a girlband – but nothing about what kind of music they’d like to make, and only those who tuned into The Xtra Factor got a hint when Jesy busted out some beatboxing during an acapella take on Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River.
Having gotten the obligatory Syco pure-pop offering out of the way with their first album, Little Mix started positioning themselves as the spiritual successors to Destiny’s Child with second album Salute, which features the utterly brilliant Boy.
Never destined for radio release (if you’ve not yet listened, the first 54 seconds are entirely acapella), this belter of an album track places the girls firmly in The Writing’s on the Wall territory. Wings has never felt so long ago.
With Jesy et al confirming recently that album no. 3 is ‘a risk’ – possibly alienating their teenage fanbase for whom the names 702, Blaque, En Vogue and SWV draw only blank faces – we must wait with baited breath to see if this morsel is a sign of even better things to come.
Entered chart: was not released
Who could sing this today and have a hit? That acapella bit makes it a tough sell for any act, but I reckon Lady Gaga could rack up a few million YouTube hits with a live version at a piano.