British X Factor winners Little Mix have existed for the greater part of 2012 without doing much more than existing (their “Cannonball” cover was December and an X Factor winner’s single, which doesn’t count anyway; here a commenter will undoubtedly respond with some YouTube preview work, promo appearance or Twitter frippery, but really–save it.) There are stakes, see. They’re a girl group, and the spectrum of girl groups as of late ranges from the great–currently occupied by Stooshe, sometimes–to the mediocre, which is occupied by too many nameless forgotten people. to mention. Judging by “Wings,” Little Mix’s debut single, the group’s hovering someplace in the middle. Listen below.
For a track called “Wings,” the producers do all they can to keep things from taking off. Each individual voice is drenched in so much production they’re like soggy feathers, and the “fuck the haters” lyrics are soggier. (When you see the title “Wings,” you can instantly predict 75% of the song.) The post-Adele retro (the horns in the beginning, the general structure) doesn’t quite coexist with everything else the producers have added, like the laser zaps that could’ve come from the studio one room over mixing a K-pop song. At the start, the tempo is set 10-20 BPM slower than what it seems like it should be.
Yet somehow, improbably, “Wings” takes off anyway; handclaps and big voices with well-timed harmonies tend to do so. Maybe that’s why they left in the lyric “no matter if I fall from the sky, these wings were made to fly,” which would otherwise demand a rewrite. Some choruses were meant to fly.