Glory Days (Album) (2016)

Pop lovers, rejoice! Little Mix have made a glorious Q4 comeback just in time to save us from the otherwise lacklustre year for pop music. After their last offering, Get Weird (check out my review of that here) became their biggest and best release to date, all eyes turned to album number four to continue that (black) magic. In a relatively quick turn around (not only does it feel like 10 minutes ago that Black Magic was joyfully ringing in our eyes, it also followed a drought of over two years since Salute, their second album making this wait feel all the quicker), Glory Days on the back of the sensational Shout Out To My Ex which became the biggest number one, based on sales alone, of the year.

Take a look at this track-by-track review of the fifteen tracks form the deluxe edition of the album, which is released alongside the phenomenal live DVD of the Get Weird tour filmed earlier this year. Seriously, treat yourself to the deluxe edition. Each will be ranked in order of how much I love them (at this very early juncture), with a short description. Be sure to let me know your ranking too!

1. Shout Out to My Ex

Seriously, pop music does not get better than this. Shout Out to My Ex is a slice of pop perfection that is an infectious and it is fun, and it is not sorry for being so. It's sassy, empowering and encompasses many of the album's themes. It will lodge itself firmly in your head for days and will very probably stay cemented at the top of my music list for 2016.

2.  Nobody Like You

Nobody Like You is a rousing power ballad that Little Mix absolutely always nail. It slots in rather perfectly with the likes of Towers, These Four Walls, Good Enough, Love Me Or Leave Me and Secret Love Song, all of which have been signature hits and firm fan favourites from the past albums by the girls. It's powerful, fragile and profoundly rich in emotion. I'll be belting this out in the shower, I'll tell you that for nothing.

3. Your Love

Mid-tempo and uplifting, it makes a beautiful partner to Nobody Like You which heavenly showcases the girls vocals superbly. It will be a brilliant one to see live on the girls' upcoming Glory Days tour at the end of next year, so keep your eyes open for that. Digital Spy described it as a "warm paradise island of joy" and I'd absolutely agree.

4. Oops (feat. Charlie Puth)

With a finger-snapping fifties vibe sprinkled all over this one, it is another infectious and anthemic hit that easily becomes an album stand out. It includes a guest appearance from US star Charlie Puth, who also helped pen the track. It feels like an upgrade to 'Marvin Gaye' from earlier this year/late last year, oozing with charisma and pure soul.

5. Nothing Else Matters

Closing out the standard edition of the album and offered as a promotional track for the album, Nothing Else Matters seems to have been crafted as perfect 'encore' material. Similar to Your Love in vibe and sound, it is once again uplifting and deeply powerful and the perfect album closer.

6. Touch (Acoustic)

Stripping back this track is the perfect strategy and is superior to the ordinary version of the track, as it puts as stronger focus on the heavenly vocals and beautiful lyrics. In fact, I'd do as far as suggesting it entirely changes the meaning of the song for the better. Controversial?

7.  F.U.

Another early album sampler, F.U. seems to evoke a similar reaction and sound to Get Weird's Love Me Like You, with a 70s vibe that you cannot help but hum along to, but this time with a sharp girl power bite. It's another track I am dying to hear live.

8. Power

Touted as an early fan favourite and likely to be made a single at some point down the line, Power mixes aggressive vocals in its opening with Jade's typical beauty shining through in the chorus. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the verses, but the bridge and chorus are particularly exciting.

9. Touch

While I do love the acoustic version a lot more, this is undeniably going to be a smash when its released as a single and its very easy to see why it is a fan favourite. It feels more mature than previous albums and will go down well live, particularly during the chorus.

10.  Beep Beep

The people that complained about their risque outfits during The X Factor premiere of Shout To My Ex should turn off about now. It's smutty, confident and (once again) incredibly infectious. Think A.D.I.D.A.S from Get Weird.

11. Private Show

With glitz and glamour to spare, complete with a finger snapping middle eight, Private Show is a very exciting and energetic trac that feels early Britney (think Circus-era)/Christina (again, her earlier stuff). It's a little heavier on the pop side, which I love, but it never really takes off as I hope it would.

12. No More Sad Songs

Seemingly made for the clubs with a booming baseline and drop, No More Sad Songs feels like it would be brilliant in a live setting but doesn't translate as well listening through headphones. It's certainly defiant and powerful and I do think it will probably grow on me with a few more listens, so check back this ranking in a few weeks time!

13. Down and Dirty

In a similar vein to Beep Beep, it's a filthy electronic-inspired track with overt sexual themes that builds as it continues. I imagine this will be the track that splits people the most and I'm not completely sold just yet. Does it remind anyone else, even slightly, of Dark Horse by KP?

14. Freak

It hasn't connected quite yet. It doesn't sound like Little Mix, unfortunately. It would simply work better for someone else.

15. You Gotta Not

In the words of co-writer Meghan Trainor, "no". The first Little Mix song I have genuinely disliked/hated.

Glory Days is, on the whole, a fantastic effort from Jade, Jesy, Leigh-Anne and Perrie. It continues the successful strides they made with Get Weird, even if it doesn't quite live up to it. It experiments with some more mature and sophisticated sounds, including trap pop and electronica, while straying into the mainstream more so than previous albums. The vocals and lyrics are stellar while the production very occasionally lets them down but this is still one of the best pop albums of the year. I'd expect nothing less from the world's biggest and best girlband.