Words: Joe Passmore
Jade, Jesy, Perrie and Leigh-Anne - who recently picked up the Honorary Gay Award at the Virgin Holidays Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar - are about to embark on a brand new era with the release of their fifth studio album LM5 next month, so we thought the time was right to cast our eye back over all their stellar singles so far.
You can read more about Little Mix's greatest gay moments here and in our November Awards issue - available to download and to order globally - but for now, here are all of the former X Factor champions' singles ranked in order of greatness...
Fresh off their historical win as the first group to ever win The X Factor came the inevitable sappy cover ballad. The song raced in at Number One on the Official UK Single Chart, but despite being one of their four char-toppers to date, it’s not one we're in a rush to go back to.
Despite showcasing their vocal strengths, this Damien Rice cover is far from what we wanted or needed from the girls.
19) Word Up!
The second and last cover to appear in the Little Mix back catalogue is ‘Word Up!’ a charity track released for BBC Sports Relief back in 2014. Though this doesn’t really add much to their singles discography, it gets extra points for its over the cheesy but charismatic music video.
18) Only You (with Cheat Codes)
While we waited for the girls to return from a well-earned break after a quite relentless 'Glory Days' era this summer, the girls helped bridge the gap with a collaboration with DJ trio Cheat Codes.
‘Only You’ is a cute if slightly uninspired little bop, which at least gave the fans the LGBT themed video they’d been asking for for so long in the form of the uplifting and somewhat odd lesbian mermaid-themed video.
17) Little Me
Little Mix’s sophomore album Salute was full of potential single choices, but ‘Little Me’, while a lovely album track, didn’t really go anywhere as a single.
There’s a nice, uplifting sentiment here but in terms of reflective moments, the superior ‘Towers’ and ‘These Four Walls’ were screaming for a release.
16) How Ya Doin’? ft. Missy Elliott
‘How Ya Doin’?’ was the first time Little Mix ever collaborated with another artist on a single, and what better way to start than with the legendary Missy Elliott?
"Hey, how ya doin'? Sorry you can't get through," they taunt in their now instantly recognisably feisty tone. It might not be their most celebrated hit, but it showed Little Mix’s sassy and feisty brand really beginning to flourishing.
15) Hair ft. Sean Paul
If you want to make something a hit, add Sean Paul to the song, it worked countless times in the past and it worked for Little Mix.
'Hair' may have frustratingly just missed out on the top ten in the charts, peaking at number 11, but it was still an instant with fans, much helped by a chaotic slumber party video in which the girls order pizza, jump around in their pyjamas and attempt to ignore Sean Paul’s persistent Facetime calls.
Here we have the first proper single from the girls and their second Number One (and first remembered Number One).
Sticking to the theme of empowerment that runs through their entire discography, this belter’s three minutes and 39 seconds gives us everything from harmonies to horns.
Though ‘Wings’ remains a classic and gave us a glimpse of what Little Mix really had to offer as a group, I think it’s safe to say that the foursome outdid themselves numerous times over the course of the four albums that were to come.
13) Change Your Life
As it is a somewhat forgotten gem in their singles discography, ‘Change Your Life’ is arguably ‘Little Mix's most underrated single.
As well as the vocals, the girls’ distinct personalities really soar in this tear-jerking yet still anthemic track.
12) Secret Love Song ft. Jason Derulo
With lyrics like ‘Why can’t you hold me in the street? Why can’t I kiss you on the dancefloor’ the third ballad to appear here is often interpreted as a homage to Little Mix’s LGBT fans, something Jade ‘Queen of the Gays’ Thirlwall herself has confirmed.
However, despite ‘Secret Love Song’ being a big hit for the girls, when it was released last year, the addition of Jason Derulo didn’t quite click, especially when you see him busting out the robot during the music video.
For the full effect, listen to the stripped back, Jason-less ‘Secret Love Song Part 2’ off the album.
Overflowing with fearsome girl power comes ‘Salute’. Full of military themed metaphor, the third single off the album with the same name calls for us to stand up against any inner demons we may be battling.
If you’re ever lucky enough to go and see the girls live, this towering stomper is always a total highlight, consistently boasting their most intricate and exciting choreography.
10) Woman Like Me
Nicki Minaj was a long time career goal collaboration for the girls and she finally joined them on latest single, ‘Woman Like Me’, which seems to be their most divisive lead single to date.
It has, however, proved to be a grower for a lot of fans, which has largely been helped by probably their best music video to date.
9) Reggaeton Lento (wth CNCO)
Ever since the worldwide domination of Justin Bieber featuring ‘Despacito’, it has become somewhat of a trend for English speaking artists to hop on Latin American, Spanish sung hits.
When Little Mix tried this we were initially sceptical, but Reggaeton Lento was already a great song in its original form, so adding the girls to the song, which they ended up dominating, only made it better.
8) No More Sad Songs ft. Machine Gun Kelly
Kelly There is no doubt that Little Mix’s most recent album, Glory Days gave us their strongest singles run. And the girls’ euphoric mid-tempo ‘No More Sad Songs’, was an immediate highlight and obvious single the moment the album was released.
For its release, it was given the remix treatment with the addition of a feature from American rapper Machine Gun Kelly, who neither adds to nor takes away from the magic of this happy-sad-bop.
7) Love Me Like You
Next up, we have the Motown-infused ‘Love Me Like You’, which takes on the vintage sound of The Ronettes and The Supremes, and while complementing the '60s sound, giving it a modern edge.
Its ‘L-O-V-E’, middle-8 is one of Little Mix’s most infectious, as well as most iconic moments (especially if you remember how they mashed it into 'Black Magic' when performing on The X Factor).
Let’s face it though, it’s pretty much a Christmas song, which gives it an advantage and extra re-play-ability in the festive months. See also: ‘Love Me Like You: The Christmas Mix’ (which is exactly the same with a few added jingles).
6) Shout Out To My Ex
As a lot of us have had our fair share of abhorrent exes and ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ has become that immediate middle finger of an anthem we didn’t know we needed in our lives. Though sticking to a very simple pop formula, the song still works as that fist pumping earworm it’s meant to be. It may be their most recent single, but it has already worked its way up there with the best of the girls’ discography.
5) Power Ft. Stormzy
It’s one of the weirdest songs on their discography, given its unsual structure (sounding like about 5 songs in one) and bizarre lyrics; including a full on rap section from Jesy and the bonkers ‘Motorbike motorbike, motorbike, motorbike, bike, bike bike bike bike bike, bike bike bike bike, whoop!’ line.
‘Power’ was always a stand out on Glory Days and though it seems to invoke a marmite reaction from some, it is still a huge fan favourite, especially with Little Mix’s huge gay following. And of course we love it.
Pop fans rejoiced when ‘Power’ was finally announced as a single, and it was accompanied with another of their best videos, full of fiery girl power, pride and guest starring Rupaul’s Drag Race’s Alaska, Willam and Courtney Act.
‘Wings’ was immediately eclipsed in quality by its follow-up, ‘DNA’. This is an addictive, moody and rare example of Little Mix showing us their darker side, as well as being the estranged sister to Katy Perry’s 'E.T.'
Vocally, it’s one of their most impressive up-tempos, where Perrie really shines with those big notes and Leigh-Anne gives us a unique and spooky talky-rapped middle-eight.
Though Little Mix are going from strength to strength, we’d love to see them to re-visit their more menacing sound at some point in the future.
3) Black Magic
So much of the ongoing success of Little Mix is owed to ‘Black Magic’. The undeniable banger burst out of nowhere after a long break from the girls and went straight in at Number One for an impressive three weeks, kick-starting new level of stardom for the girls.
It’s not exactly difficult to work out why the British public took to this the way they did, from the first time hearing the opening line ‘All the girls on the block knocking at my door’, you just knew it would be huge.
Despite a polarising reaction to the vibrant, corset-wearing video that accompanies the song, listening to this hypnotically repetitive track is undeniable.
‘Touch’ is a gay club staple as well as a genuine all round crowd pleaser, as everything from previous cover star MNEK’s sublime production, to the sexy verses as well as the euphoric middle 8, makes listening to 'Touch' a religious experience.
Topping our list is Little Mix’s still most daring and intricate single, ‘Move’. It may not have been the immediate hit that their other lead singles became, but it's the epitome of a ‘grower’.
Releasing ‘Move’ is the kind of risk we wish mainstream pop acts did more often (Cow bells?!): This R&B infused track relies less on Little Mix’s unforgettable moment in pop. Good on you girls.
Read more about Little Mix's greatest moments in the November Awards issue of Attitude, out now.