Monday 21 July 2014

Dolly On ... Little Mix

I'm planning on starting a series (Dolly On ...), where I discuss my opinions on all sorts of things, from music and musicians, to film and TV, to deeper things like politics, religion and social constructs. I have pretty strong opinions, and I love to share them with people. I just hope you enjoy reading them! I have so many ideas for this series, but I'm going to start with Little Mix, because I was just flicking through the music channels saw How Ya Doin', and just had to write something down! 

Firstly, I'd like to point out that Little Mix have some really great songs, like Move and How Ya Doin'. These days everyone is obsessed with the 90s, and yet not with Little Mix? To me, their songs are incredibly 90s. How Ya Doin' is straight up 90s Pop/R'n'B. All four of the girls in Little Mix have GREAT voices, and it's a shame that people don't really get to hear this on their tracks (I feel the same way about Jessie J). If you find videos of them singing live, their vocals are incredible, and they obviously spend a lot of time working on their harmonies. I think maybe that's another reason that, today, younger people are into acts like this, as they have the chance, and ability, to watch videos of their favourite artists. Videos of them singing, or chatting, or joking around. The music industry today is about SO much more than just the music, which can work well for some people, but not so well for others. 

I think it's incredibly hard for a girl group to be successful nowadays. Most people who buy music are young girls, who want to spend their money hearing young boys singing about how they're perfect, and don't need to change etc. Does this mean that young girls don't like music made by women? No, but I think they're less open to it to begin with. Over time they might grow to become super fans, like we're seeing in America, but I think for young girls in this day and age, being told they're beautiful trumps being told they're a strong, independent woman. 

So, we've got the young girls on board, but what about the young boys? When you're young, it's all about fitting in, and, for boys this usually means showing no emotion, unless of course it's to do with sports. Liking, and promoting this like for a girl band, is not the thing for a young boy to do if he wants to seem 'cool' and that he doesn't really care about things. Girlbands lose out with boys. Maybe in the future, when men and women truly are equal, female bands will get some of the success they deserve. 
I also think that, the older you get, the more likely you are to want to find 'credible' acts to put your faith in. Whether this is a personal preference, or because you want to fit in to society's idea of what a 'grown up' should be, this is bad news for girl and boys bands alike. I don't know why bands like Little Mix and One Direction seem less credible than say, Coldplay or the Arctic Monkeys. Is is because they're young? Or because they don't play their own instruments? Because they're music is classed as 'pop'? Is it because they don't write their own songs? This is a pet peeve of mine, when people discredit artists for not writing their own songs. Actors don't write their own scripts. Also, even people who do 'write their own songs' tend to write them with a team. Sometime artists are given writing credits just for being in the same room when the song was written! To me, if you like singing, and are good at it, then who am I to discredit you because you don't also have the talent to write a hit song.

So why aren't Little Mix as successful as they should be? I think there's many reasons they've not had the success they deserve in the UK, one being the fact they started on the X Factor. I think in the US, where, thankfully, Little Mix seem to be taking off right now, the public are more open to acts that started on reality shows. I know people like Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert and 5th Harmony are still incredibly popular. Here in the UK however, it's different, I feel that people immediately discount anyone who's taken the reality TV route to success. Whether this is because we see it as a sell-out, or don't think these people deserve what they've been given, or are just a generally pessimistic country, reality TV show acts don't seem to do so well here (with the major exception of One Direction, but I don't think anyone was expecting that meteoric rise to fame). I'm sure, knowing that Little Mix started on the X Factor has led certain people to not even give them a chance. If these people actually listened to some of their music, they'd realise than Little Mix are actually pretty great.

To read the rest of the Dolly On ... series, click here!

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