Little Mix - "Wasabi" (Singles Going Steady)

Photo: Courtesy of the artist

A missive directed toward their haters, Little Mix's "Wasabi" is defiant and confident. It's a musical reminder to ignore the critics and strive towards authenticity.

Elisabeth Woronzoff: "Love to hate me, praise me, shame me / Either way you talk about me" is the essence of Little Mix's appeal. The lyrics come from their single "Wasabi", a track reminiscent of '90s girl pop-groups mixed with contemporary club beats. "Wasabi" isn't good musically; it's scattered. The jumpiness between genres is unsettling, especially the transition from spoken word to rock riffs. But being considered a musical masterclass has never been Little Mix's purpose. Rather, they have always advocated for combing empowerment with fun -- and this is certainly where "Wasabi" finds its allure.

A missive directed toward their haters, "Wasabi" is defiant and confident. It's a musical reminder to ignore the critics and strive towards authenticity. In the video, Jade wears a t-shirt bearing an image of famed and esteemed British tele-journalist Trevor McDonald. The juxtaposition of McDonald and Little Mix is an audacious reminder of the group's self-awareness. Here Little Mix deflects postmodern cynicism and the shade thrown at their contributions to popular culture. [6/10]

Jessica Brant: The world is growing increasingly more hostile over human rights injustices, a plummeting stock market, and this "End of the World" lockdown we're experiencing because of COVID-19, but our dance music doesn't have to be, no matter how rough the ride gets. Downshifting isn't necessarily a bad thing for Americans to do right now, in whatever aspects of their lives they are unhappy with. Everything we say or do can be spit right back in our faces, and our thoughts and actions are being closely monitored on social media through our peers, contributing to an agitated state of living. What we don't need right now is more stress, so we might as well brush off those cancel culture vultures and accept the times for what they are. Sashay Shante those fears away, honey, just as Little Mix does by sharing footage from their LM5 Tour last year in this video. [7/10]

Karen Zarker: First glance of this poppy punch bowl and it's looking really pink. Just go ahead, take a sip. It seems like Little Mix has spiked this drink with a bottle full of Beyoncé's "Lemonade", doesn't it? That's OK. The Latin dance-pop will fizz you up, and the more swallow, the more your sassy little self will feel emboldened. "Wasabi" burns hot and fast. It's a quick, fun little shot of hot attitude. [6/10]

Kyle Cochrun: What's with the '90s-esque breakbeat-laden hard rock for the bridge? I'd like to experience this song in a nightclub with a high-end speaker system. At home, with headphones on, without wasted partygoers lurching all around me, I can tell I'm not getting the intended effect. This one was made for the club, and I'm sure there are clubs nearby that would play it, at least on request. But, for me, at least, the Covid-19 pandemic has shut those spots down and robbed the song of its context. It's still unclear how the coronavirus will alter club music, if at all. If anyone decides to write a book on this subject years down the road, they should call up the members of Little Mix. [5/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Classical R&B vocal harmonies add some much-needed warmth to the sharp beats on "Wasabi" for a comfortingly predictable dance-pop track that steps on Little Mix haters with heels on. This is a formulaic version of empowerment, no doubt, but it's tried and true for a reason: it feels good. Ultimately, it's relatable, too, and this is as much a song for the club as it is for boosting your self-esteem with a bedroom dance party. A banger, if not particularly inspired. [6/10]

SCORE: 6.00





Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.


New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.


Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.


Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.


New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.


'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.


Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.


Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.


M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.


Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.


JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.


All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.


Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.


Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.


Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.


'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.


Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.


Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.