Hair metaphors back in style, just like Sean Paul…
Alfred Soto: A decent Little Mix arrangement with addled harmonies; not a pox on Lady Gaga’s batshit “Hair” fie years ago. Speaking of time, who asked Sean Paul to guest on a 2016 putative pop record?
Scott Mildenhall: For the purpose of posterity: Sean Paul is, along with this song, featured on the current singles of Jay Sean, Sia, Sak Noel, Matoma and MAGIC!. And here he is in the studio with David Guetta! Not bad for someone who was dropped 18 months ago. His appearance seems almost obligatory at this point, and that’s fitting for a song that feels like it followed rather than begot its GHD tie-in. The hair references land as leaden as the professed joy, although it might help if they’re something you have the head to relate to.
Cassy Gress: I was the keyboardist for a community theatre production of South Pacific a while back, and I am relieved that this does not sample or otherwise reference one of the worst songs in that show. What it does do, though, is sound exactly like the video: a group of women emphatically exhorting their friend to get over him, that he’s not worth it, just like their own exes were not worth it. Sean Paul, meanwhile, is like if Clarissa shut her window and Sam was stuck outside rapping on it trying to get her attention. By the time he got his own verse, I may as well have been checking my watch waiting for Little Mix to come back, because I don’t caaa-aa-aa-a-a-are. He feels thoroughly hot-glued onto this song. It’s still snappy anyway, though, even if they can’t/won’t say dick.
Brad Shoup: With its underpinning sixteenths and orchestra hits, it reminds me Kelis’s “Like You,” only much, much busier. The song is rollicking in its portions, but the seams show. Great, though, to see Sean Paul make himself at home (really).
Claire Biddles: I absolutely adore Little Mix, and I’m one half of a recently broken-up couple, which makes me pretty much the ideal target audience for “Hair”, an update of “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” with shampoo swapped for GHDs and peroxide. Little Mix seems to be producing the most sincere and relatable (at least for me) empowerment/break-up anthems amongst the hundreds available to the newly single woman. Although it’s kind of cliché to say so, something about the members’ genuine vocal and personal chemistry makes it feel more like a group of friends telling me to delete his number, or bleach my hair and go out and feel better. The women of Little Mix seem to care about each other, and by extension to care about other women too. The cathartic personal image upheaval referenced in the title also feels particularly real and comforting. The 90s girlband influences that are all over the “Get Weird” album are here too — the swagger of the chorus reminds me of early Eternal, and the omnipresent sound effects of the period — record scratches and brass hits — play their part in the track’s deft and complex percussion. Lyrically, the song moves from melancholy images — “Hair on the floor/like my memory of him” — to screams of “he was just a dick and I knew it”, presenting break-ups as the emotional back-and-forth that they actually are. The only weak link here is Sean Paul, whose summer anthem ‘feat.’s I usually like, but who unsurprisingly seems superfluous on a utopian song about erasing any traces of men from one’s life. Thankfully he’s out the door by the last chorus, allowing for another few rounds of perfect sing-a-long misandry.
Will Adams: I could understand (though still dislike) Sean Paul’s presence anywhere on “Hair,” but for him to open the song? It’s puzzling, especially when there’s a solid foundation without him already, namely a percussion section made of equal parts marching band and buckets. The metaphor gets teased and dyed and blown out until it’s damaged, anyway; why add in extraneous product?