Being a fan of a girl group means putting yourself in a precarious position. There's always a lingering inevitability that the group will eventually dissolve so that its members can pursue solo careers; that finality is even more acutely felt when that group is created for television purposes (i.e., Eden's Crush, Girls Aloud and Danity Kane, among others).
That's why it's fair to at least pose the question: Is it time to start worrying about Little Mix? Even with current single "Black Magic" becoming the highest-charting hit of the group's catalog, Little Mix's upcoming Get Weird album is already the third of the U.K. girl group's career, a feat most girl groups struggle to hit (the Spice Girls barely made it, with four members instead of five). The group has been intact for four tireless years, since being corralled together on The X Factor, where all four members—Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall—auditioned as soloists. Even if a breakup isn't happening anytime soon, history would suggest that Little Mix is closer to the end than the beginning.
However, there's a reason why Little Mix is the only group to ever win the U.K. version of The X Factor (not even One Direction could snag the crown): There's something special here. These four ladies belong together, and know that they belong together. Their personalities complement one another, and there's a mutual admiration and respect that cannot be denied. This has been further proven by everything that's led up to Get Weird, and will continue to be underlined as they continue cranking out albums together.
From a musical standpoint, Little Mix is more together than ever. In the lead-up to Get Weird, the members have been favoring acoustic performances of singles "Black Magic" and "Love Me Like You" that not only highlight their tight harmonies, but demonstrate how much they've come to depend upon one another sonically.
They're still experimenting with their sound as a group, but Little Mix has seamlessly pulled off singles that operate within doo-wop, R&B and bubblegum pop in order to show their collective flexibility. Also, have you seen Little Mix performing on TV or footage from recent concerts? The quartet is moving, singing and generally charming crowds now more than ever.
However, they also appear to be growing closer personally, unlike some reality show-formed girl groups. In this recent interview with SugarScape (above), the members are asked to "tell us in the most dramatic, soppy way possible...what you love most about [a bandmate]." The women forwent the "dramatic, soppy" description and just told one another what they honestly loved about their fellow band mate. What's key in this interaction is how similarly each member answered the question while still being genuine. Each gal emphasized the other girl's beauty, humility, sense of caring and "banging body."
The point of the exercise (which they later say is a common part of their sleepovers) is to lift each other up. But the fact that they spotlighted such similar aspects shows not only what they see as important in a friend, but intuitively know what will make that group mate feel good. They're not co-workers (which is how many Eastern and some Western girl groups come off), but best friends.
That's been further proven in their latest round of album promotion, which has occurred right after Perrie went through a very-public breakup with fiancee Zayn Malik. Perrie has been addressing the personal questions head-on, with her group mates coming to the rescue at every awkward moment. The gals shielded Perrie from prying paparazzi hours after the news hit, Leigh-Ann quickly changed topics during an E! interview, and when Perrie broke down in the middle of a performance, Jade and Leigh-Ann immediately surrounded and comforted her while Jesy distracted the crowd. It's this types of support that undoubtedly makes Perrie feel okay about getting emotional in public, and makes her confident enough to field the tough questions. It's girl power, but more distinctly, it's girl-group power.
Taylor Swift's squad may be composed of a slew of badass females, but they're all girls the 1989 star has assembled to highlight each other's individual sense of badassery. The Little Mix girls obviously possess individual skills, but those talents meld so well together that you can't even say the group has a frontwoman or lead singer. In fact, there's been no talk of any solo work or individual music ventures from any member, compared to Fifth Harmony, who have already begun solo ventures and talked about an eventual split.
Individual personality and ambition are what usually tear pop groups apart (for better or worse), but the Little Mix members are so in-sync with one another that Little Mix feels like it is their personalities. Abandoning the group would essentially be the members neglecting themselves, which is why there is such an emphasis on lifting and strengthening one another. In this case, the four members of Little Mix are all working toward a common goal, and have a better chance of reaching that goal together than separately. Forget what history tells you: Little Mix is just getting started.