Glory Days, the meaning of the phrase being a time in the past that is better than the current days of the present. Usually such a phrase is used to look back on better times, however Little Mix decided to use the phrase to brand their present. They knew that the time they were living in and what they were currently accomplishing was never to be replicated in the future, and they were right. Glory Days saw the girls achieve their first #1 album, staying there for 5 non consecutive weeks and going on to achieve massive success, unheard of for a girl group in their fourth album era.
The album was lauded by fans and critics for its strong sense of personality and catchy hooks, the album by its sonical definition is chart pop. Music that is radio friendly and chart friendly but is still pristine and sparkling… well, for the most part.
The album was preceded by Shout Out to My Ex, a mouthful of a song title and surrounded by controversy as the song’s inception came just months after Perrie Edwards, one of the band members, ended her relationship with ex-One Directioner Zayn Malik. The song was instantly blasted by stans for being a cheap shot but praised by critics and fans for being full of energy and personality. The song starts off clunky, whilst the fun lyrics are there to entice and surprise (a certain lyric about faking orgasms garnered much attention from the mumsnet crew) they certainly could have been edited a bit better. Speaking of editing, the song clocks in at a whopping 4:17, which is long for a pop song, the song has two uber long verses which definitely could’ve been shorter, although the song is fun you find yourself checking your watch waiting for it to be over. That being said, the massive banger of a pop anthem managed to become a staple hit and garnered an incredible amount of attention for the girls, so it’s not all bad.
Other examples of songs that fit under the “this could have been edited or chopped all together” category are the two collabs on the album. Oops featuring Charlie Puth and You Gotta Not with a Meghan Trainor writing credit. (Or a song that was taken right off of her reject pile) Both songs throwback to the 50s and 60s with their doo-wop sound and coo-ing harmonies sung over a horn and piano riff. But on a more positive note Trainor’s ability to craft melodies is still as strong as ever, but lyrically, the song goes against everything Little Mix stand for- the desperate need for a man (They literally sing “I need a man”) Then there’s the body shaming-type comments delivered in Jesy’s verse. It’s clear that this was a pushy label choice and not the girls as after the European Glory Days tour the song was dumped. Oops managed to have a somewhat decent chart run for a non-single (Albeit with an X-Factor performance) and still somehow scanned Silver in the UK.
F.U. follows suite and gives us another layer of 50s doo-wop, albeit this one is more low-key in its sound and playful delivery but still amps up the cheese, you can’t help but picture yourself in an M&S Christmas advert when you hear it. The song is laced with luscious harmonies and stellar vocals, which are the saving grace. Rather than being chopped all together, I feel like this song wouldn’t have been out of place on Get Weird, their third album.
Moving on from the duds and semi-duds, Glory Days is packed with wall to wall mega pop anthems. Touch, is a phenonmal dance pop track that is infused with tropical pop, the MNEK produced banger has gone on to be one of their biggest hits and one of their most noticed hits from other pop stars. The song goes from 0 – 60 as soon as the chorus hits and it brings one of the best middle 8s in pop music with a broken down, almost chanted bridge leading to a massive climax. Power is another dance pop track with an industrial pop inspired chorus, the song lyrically speaks of female domination and is quintessential Little Mix. An entirely belted opening verse sung by Edwards, with the second verse being rapped by Jesy and is entirely inspired by Vroom Vroom from well known Little Mix stan, Charli XCX.
Rounding off the trio of bangers is another fan favourite, No More Sad Songs, the song is delivered with such raw emotion and a feeling that everyone can relate to, sometimes you just don’t wanna hear anymore damn sad songs! The song is lauded as one of their best songs and rightfully so. The delivery of Jade’s verse alone is enough for this song to be incredible but if that’s not enough there is a massive climax note by Perrie, a gorgeous understated bridge sung entirely by Jesy and a call to arms chanted chorus. What’s not to love?
In a classic Little Mix sense there are a few songs that fly under the radar when compared to the other behemoths on the album. Your Love is a summery tropical pop song that is beautifully delivered by each girl, with Leigh-Anne getting a real moment, but it fails to live up to the other love songs they’ve done in the past. (That being said, it’s hard for anything to live up to mega ballad, Secret Love Song Pt. II) Nobody Like You is the proper ballad of the album, distorted strings and a trap beat lay the groundwork for a very heartbreaking song with Jesy delivering an absolute chilling opening verse and singing for her life on the chorus. Although it is worth mentioning that the 1-2 punch of Your Love -> Nobody Like You -> No More Sad Songs is very goosebump worthy.
Down & Dirty and Private Show are the shortest songs on the album, both songs written in the same session with all four girls having a writing credit, you can tell these songs, whilst lyrically flat, were written and recorded with so much fun and energy that all flaws can be overlooked. Down & Dirty is a dance pop song with a somewhat choppy and dated breakdown, but it’s still fun, the delivery is rap-sung and is entirely a brag worthy moment. She’s the little sister of LM5’s Joan of Arc. Private Show is the better of the two, not only was this screaming to be a single with a Tinashe remix, it’s entirely upbeat and has such a catchy and memorable chorus, it’s a bit of a shame that it was paid dust after the tour was done. Although the horns throughout are a bit harsh and blaring but… that chorus.
The album closes with massive 80s pop power ballad, Nothing Else Matters, a fan favourite on tour and also a fan favourite single, never officially released but receiving a video. The song encompasses the feeling of Glory Days, the girls sing about their love for each other and that really, when it all boils down to it, nothing else matters other than their friendship and drive.
Glory Days certainly lives up to its name, some of these songs will be inducted into the Pop Music hall of fame and sadly some will fade away, but the legacy of this album will live on and will no doubt inspire future Girls Groups when they’re looking to create an album full of absolute bangers. It truly was their Glory Days.
Stand Out Tracks: Touch, No More Sad Songs, Private Show, Nothing Else Matters