Glory Days: The Platinum Edition
By the time Glory Days was released in 2016, it had been almost five years since Little Mix won the British version of The X Factor. That had been more than enough time for the girl band to slide into obscurity, as other X Factor winners had done in the past. But Glory Days, the group’s fourth hit album, would only continue Little Mix’s steady land grab of the charts, demonstrating once again how and why they had become the UK’s biggest pop act. The lead single “Shout Out to My Ex” pulls a Taylor Swift, capitalizing on Perrie Edwards’ well-publicized breakup with One Direction’s Zayn Malik: “Took four long years to call it quits/Forget that boy! I’m over it.” It’s a perfectly pitched kiss-off anthem, with a soaring power-chord chorus that serves as the audio equivalent of an air punch. The cathartic effects of a well-timed breakup are explored further on the wistful single “No More Sad Songs,” while “F.U.” gamely tackles the toxic allure of a bad boy (“I wish you were dead till you take me to bed”). Glory Days’ second single, “Touch,” jumps on the tropical-house bandwagon, layering a simple refrain (“Just a touch of your love is enough/To knock me off of my feet all week”) over steel drums and panpipes. What could feel like trend-chasing is elevated into a career-best song by an earworm chorus and laidback vocal performance (both Ed Sheeran and Mabel would go on to perform their own versions). Meanwhile, the group’s proclivity towards empowerment bops reaches its zenith with Glory Days’ “Power,” an industrial pop track which throws in everything but the kitchen sink (including a guest verse from Stormzy). Never before have the lyrics “Motorbike, motorbike/Motorbike, motorbike/Bike, bike, bike, bike/Bike-bike, bike-bike, bike-bike, whoop” registered as such a compelling call-to arms. This is an album that captures Little Mix at peak powers—and in full glory.