The sophomore full-length album from Little Mix, 2013's Salute, showcases the British all-girl group's bright, high-energy pop music. The album follows up the former X Factor champions' 2012 debut, DNA. Once again, this album features the vocal talents of Little Mix members Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall. Surrounded by a sea of similarly inclined girl group acts like Fifth Harmony and the Saturdays, Little Mix do a nice job of standing out from the crowd here. This is not so much due to any reinvention of the pop wheel (although they do sound a lot more Americanized than their British contemporaries); what separates them is great songwriting and production, and on that score Salute is a big win for Little Mix. This time around, Little Mix worked with a handful of big-name producers including Future Cut (Lily Allen, Shakira), MNEK (Rudimental, Misha B), TMS (Emeli Sandé, Olly Murs), and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey). The result is that they have a heavier, more R&B and hip-hop-influenced sound on Salute than they did on DNA. In that sense, Little Mix are more in line with acts like Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Beyoncé. Twenty years on from the days when En Vogue and TLC reigned as R&B divas, their distinctive '90s production sound is back in vogue and Little Mix are clearly enamored with it. Cuts like "About the Boy," "Mr. Loverboy," and "Move" have a strong '90s club aesthetic that smartly bridges the gap between vintage house music and contemporary electronic dance music of the 2000s. Ultimately, while Salute retains all of Little Mix's infectious, teen-friendly ingredients, it reveals a new recipe for fans whose palates have matured right along with the band.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar