Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Little Mix – Bounce Back

Little II Mix…


Katie Gill: Occasionally, I worry that pop music cheese has vanished. Noticeable exception aside, so much of pop music right now seems to be devoted to teenagers and twenty-somethings who are painfully, almost cringe-worthingly earnest. Even the previous masters of cheese relegate themselves to just dropping a corny lyric and hoping that it’ll do the job. And then, Little Mix rhymes “bayou” with “by you” and I feel a little glimmer of hope that cheese still exists.

Katherine St Asaph: If I can forget all the things I wanted Little Mix to be that aren’t this, I can enjoy this on its own merits as a chimera of Soul II Soul, Dawn Richard’s “Northern Lights” and Meg Myers’ “Desire.” But not quite that good.

Scott Mildenhall: This is the band Little Mix could easily have become after the moment that made them — one of unfulfilled potential and over-reliance on familiarity. True, it’s a line they’ve tread successfully in the past, and this isn’t a straight-up cover, but you can’t dip into something as immortal as “Back to Life” so half-heartedly without the result being something more befitting mixtape than single status. It’s for good reason that “Word Up!” remains their second most anomalous (and perhaps anonymous) release.

Iain Mew: A mess of disconnected ideas shoved in a small box and taped together with a familiar hook, “Bounce Back” has an odd out-of-time feeling that probably comes from getting Stargate for a ’90s throwback in 2019. A couple of member changes early but right on schedule chronologically, it reminds me of the late career directionlessness that brought us Sugababes’ “Girls” and “Get Sexy.

Edward Okulicz: This would be a pretty good song if it were, you know, finished. Minimal almost to the point of being comical, this wastes the killer “Back to Life” interpolation by not supporting it with anything in particular.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: They use Soul II Soul to traverse from verse to verse, but this is in dire need of a hook that functions as little more than nostalgic throwback.

Vikram Joseph: It’s almost upsetting how much this wants to be vintage Destiny’s Child, and by how far it falls short. (The one point of note here is that, somewhere in this mush, someone has slipped the line “keep me wetter than a bayou” in; there’s no un-hearing that).

Jonathan Bradley: London has its own drill now, so I guess it figures it should get its own bounce too? The borrowing lights a fire under Little Mix’s song, and the group responds by getting out of the way, which is probably the best approach; I don’t think they’re really capable of delivering a 2019 UK “Get Me Bodied.” It is strange to hear bounce so entirely disconnected from its New Orleans roots; local musics are always adaptable, but few sounds are as intertwined with the city that brought them to life as this one. (Even Drake, whose role as cultural conduit-conquistador looms large over this track, gave Big Freedia a featuring spot during his dalliance with the style.) It seems fitting that Little Mix sprinkle only the vaguest allusions to Louisiana throughout the song: a “hot boy” who keeps Leigh-Anne Pinnock “wetter than a bayou” here, a pseudo-brass band horn line there — it’s like they’re returned from vacation and showing off their selfies sipping hand grenades on Bourbon Street, eating a po’ boy, draped in beads.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: This is exhausting to the point of almost being impressive — to interpolate “Back To Life,” do New Orleans bounce pastiche, and incorporate an admittedly pretty sick horn break in under 2:45 requires some gall, but the “Bounce Back” does so with a shocking degree of energy. Unfortunately, there’s not much room left here for Little Mix to make much of an impression. It’s tough, being the fourth most interesting thing on your own song.

Reader average: [6.66] (3 votes)

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One Response to “Little Mix – Bounce Back”

  1. I have to agree that this song does not sound finished. The verse goes in to the chorus and ti doesn’t seem natural, more like they wanted that chorus and it was going to get there whether you like it or not. As is my wont, a shout out to the banger in their past that still slays: Black Magic.