Friday, January 11th, 2013

Little Mix – Change Your Life

Is everyone inspired yet?


Alex Ostroff: Did you love the soundtrack to the inspirational first season of It Gets Better? Did you feel like a plastic bag? Blowing in the wind? Are you fuckin’ perfect? R U who U R? Well, the second season soundtrack has just been released, featuring One Direction’s cover of Big Fun’s “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)” and this schlock. This stuff is crass and exploitative — grand displays of empathy by pop singers tied to faceless, often nameless, third parties whose stories are deployed to teach the audience pat and simple lessons about self-love with little demonstrated understanding of the complexity of issues actually grappled with by those they sing about. It might be different if it was coming from a personal place; it’s easier for me to draw inspiration and hope from someone speaking to their own experiences rather than trying to speak for mine. But the only “It Gets Better” anthems I was ever able to deal with were Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R” and Selena Gomez’s “Who Says?” — Ke$ha speaks for a collective and invites you into her circle of solidarity and partying (and really, it’s barely an “It Gets Better” song) while Gomez sings about her own insecurities and uses that as a launching point for reaching outwards (plus, the production isn’t as suffocatingly “inspirational” as the rest of its ilk). Alas, Little Mix’s contribution to this genre is pretty much as bad as the rest of it. The drum’n’bass and descending piano arpeggios are nice, though, their harmonies are pretty, and I’m a sucker for Britishly-intoned spoken word bits, even when the content is rubbish.

Jonathan Bradley: IT GETS BETTER U R WHO U R: now available in British!

Katherine St Asaph: The problem with these inspiro-ballads is that most people’s problems go beyond freeing one’s inner luminosity with sprawling singing or a little fall of arpeggiated rain. Change your vibrato.

Alfred Soto: After a raft of songs by young males urging their girlfriends to become women worthy of them, it’s a small comfort to hear women getting hortatory. I’d rather hear Mary J. Blige shout the homilies, though. As for the reset? Change your beats

Will Adams: I will never have the patience for this kind of song. The kind that features a narrative of some unnamed “she” or “he” in the verses. The kind that has that lumbering midtempo against a waving arms chorus. The kind whose singers sound like they don’t give a shit about who they’re singing to and are mostly interested in hearing themselves belt. I’m not opposed to empowerment anthems on the whole; Little Mix themselves have already done it better on “Wings.” Maybe I’m just that cynical. Or maybe I’m just upset that the beginning reminded me of “Untouched” but the rest did not.

Anthony Easton: I always found the arguments about this kind of inspirational work utilitarian: does this effectively inspire me to make it through the day? Considering I mostly hate my life right now, I am not the one to judge its effectiveness, and so I will go back to Nina Simone’s “Pirate Jenny.”

Jer Fairall: The ringing piano arpeggios and the spoken-ish bits delivered over a stately string accompaniment suggest the pop gem that could have been, but the chorus is delivered with such thudding gracelessness that these lush adornments have no hope of redeeming the Inspirational boilerplate that is the lyric. 

Brad Shoup: That arpeggiation cries out for a faster tempo, or at least the illusion of one. But instead we get caesurae and some “We Will Rock You” kicks-and-claps. This needed to be like a frantic intervention.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Before the first chorus hits, a D’n’B break peeks out slowly from the background, teasing an element of effusive drama that can take the It Gets Better message of “Change Your Life” skywards. A hands-in-the-sky moment of undeniable schlock-power awaits. Yes! Believe in the awkwardly worded “inner you”! We’re going to change our lives with Little Mix! Then the D’n’B break disappears and the chorus flops about, loud but devoid of power, underwritten and undefined. The whole song follows soon afterwards, dragged down by its overly safe sharing of good intentions. An extra point for Little Mix’s single-handed crusade to bring back the All Saints accented talk-rap.

Reader average: [3.77] (9 votes)

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5 Responses to “Little Mix – Change Your Life”

  1. Damn, you Alex–I was hoping that was real.

  2. I will cop to the fact that this got a [3] instead of a [2] in large part because I feel bad about the idea of totally trashing a song by Zayn Malik’s girlfriend.

  3. (Mostly kidding.)

  4. What are the POETIC FEATURES of Change your Life?

  5. We don’t do homework anymore.