The third album from Britain's Little Mix, 2015's Get Weird finds the former X-Factor champions delivering a set of bright, robustly produced songs that straddle the line between '80s synth pop and cutting-edge, contemporary R&B. Once again featured in Little Mix are singers Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall. Rather than being a homogenous group centered around one stand-out vocalist, Little Mix are all vivacious performers blessed with highly resonant voices that are well-matched to each other. Complementing their abilities this time out are a handful producers including Electric, Nathan Duvall, and Maegan Cottone. Having such a large cadre of producers/songwriters behind the scenes on a big pop album isn't too surprising. What is surprising, however, is just how ear-poppingly catchy Get Weird is. There's a kinetic energy to many of the tracks on Get Weird that brings to mind the arty '80s dance-pop of bands like Yello crossed with the crisp, bluesy soulfulness of Robert Palmer. In fact, cuts like "Black Magic" and "Weird People," with their foot-pounding beats, Day-Glo synths, and crystalline vocal production, sound pleasingly like they could have been recorded by Stock, Aitken & Waterman in 1986. Similarly, even when Little Mix move in a more hip-hop-style direction, they do it with a decade-smashing sense of adventure. To these ends, "Hair" sounds like Beyonce backed by Japanese Kodo drummers and the saucy "OMG," brings to mind Rihanna fronting '80s synth pop duo Soft Cell. Elsewhere, Little Mix borrow a bit of pop zeitgeist from Meghan Trainor and jump even further back in time, referencing the "All About That Bass" singer's '60s girl group sound for "Love Me Like You Do" and "A.D.I.D.A.S." Ultimately, Little Mix's stylish, decade-blending synergy works, and Get Weird ends up being a lot of fun.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar