Black Magic (song)

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"Black Magic"
Little Mix - Black Magic (Official Single Cover).png
Single by Little Mix
from the album Get Weird
Released 21 May 2015 (2015-05-21)
Format
Recorded 2015
Studio Tileyard Studios, (London, England)
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:31
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Little Mix singles chronology
"Salute"
(2014)
"Black Magic"
(2015)
"Love Me Like You"
(2015)

"Black Magic" is a song by British girl group Little Mix. It was written by Camille Purcell, Ed Drewett, Edvard Førre Erfjord, and Henrik Michelsen. The Norwegian production duo Electric, who previously worked on the group's second studio album Salute (2013), produced the single with Matt Rad, who is additional producer. It was released as the lead single from their third studio album, Get Weird on 21 May 2015. "Black Magic" received critical acclaim from critics, who praised its upbeat and catchy sound and compared it to songs from their debut album, DNA (2012).

The single topped the UK Singles Chart with combined sales of 113,000, making it the group's first single to top the chart since their 2012 single "Wings". The single also peaked within the top 10 of the charts in Ireland, Israel and Australia, achieving platinum certification in the latter. On the UK Singles Chart, "Black Magic" remained at the top of the chart for three weeks, becoming the first single by a girl group to do so since Sugababes's "About You Now" in October 2007.[1][2] The song was nominated for Choice Love Song at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards. On 17 August 2015, the single debuted at 99 on the US Billboard Hot 100, before rising to number 68 the following week, subsequently becoming their highest peak on the chart thus far. In its third week in the Billboard Hot 100, "Black Magic" climbed one more place to reach a new peak of 67.

Background and release[edit]

"We always like to do something that people wouldn't expect us to come out with. The Salute campaign was a lot darker and a bit more R&B [...] that's why it took so long because we were looking for something that would surprise people. We wanted to change the game a bit, and 'Black Magic' is very pop."

—Jade Thirlwall talking to Digital Spy about the song.[3]

On 4 July 2014, Little Mix had announced that they would cancel their tour in order to focus on recording their third album.[4] The band said that the new album is "stronger" and will be about relationships and that is also better than their two previous albums, DNA (2012) and Salute (2013).[5][6] In February 2015, Little Mix revealed that they had chosen the lead single from their third studio album and also said that it has a "whole new sound".[7] They described the song as "a risk" and said that it is completely different from what they've done before.[8] They also said that their album was delayed due to the fact that they wrote a whole album but scrapped it, because they thought "they could do better".[9][10]

The song's title was accidentally revealed by member Leigh-Anne Pinnock's mother on Twitter on 21 April 2015 by tweeting "#MixersAreExcitedForBlackMagic yesss mixers it's the new single and it's fantastic".[11] However, the tweet was deleted shortly after it was posted. On 14 May 2015, Little Mix revealed the song's title to be "Black Magic", after the single's cover art surfaced on music identification service Shazam.[12] The single's cover features the group in front of red school lockers with the band's logo featured above in yellow color and the title of the song below in white color. "Black Magic" was scheduled to premiere on 26 May, but was later moved forward to 21 May, after the single leaked online the day before. The single was released digitally in the UK on 20 May.[13] It was released as a CD single in Europe and Japan on 24 July.

Composition[edit]

"Black Magic" is a dance-pop song that runs for a total length of three minutes and thirty-one seconds. It was written by Edvard Førre Erfjord, Henrik Michelsen, Ed Drewett and Camille Purcell, and was produced by the production duo Electric, who previously worked on the band's second studio album, along with Matt Rad (add.). The song's rhythm is influenced by the sounds of the 1980s dance music. The song has a quick tempo of 112 beats per minute and is composed in the key of E major.[14] The band's vocal range in the song runs from G#3 to E5.[14]

Talking about the song's message, the band said that it is "basically that we are the girls with the secret potion and we're going to give it to all the other girls that want to get the man they want to get" with Pinnock adding that "it [the potion] is a metaphor for having confidence to get your man".[15][16]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon release, "Black Magic" was acclaimed by music critics, who welcomed Little Mix's new '80s influenced sound. Matt Bagwell of The Huffington Post called the single "one of the best pop releases of the year", complimenting its "killer chorus" and "trademark call to arms chant", while writing that "Black Magic" is "significantly better" than Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea's single "Pretty Girls", which Little Mix co-wrote.[17] Lewis Corner of Digital Spy gave the song 5 out of 5 stars saying "not only was it the perfect song for this point in their career, but one powerful enough to bewitch those beyond their expected demographic."[18]

Ariana Bacle of Entertainment Weekly described the song as "bouncy" and "incredible catchy".[19] Jocelyn Vena of Billboard noted Little Mix's "soaring vocals over a shimmery melody".[20] The Guardian compared the song to the "carefree joy" of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", while also comparing the song to those of their debut album DNA (2012).[21]

Billboard named the song #34 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.[22]

Chart performance[edit]

The song debuted at 25 on the Australian singles chart and two weeks later, it peaked at number 8.[23] The song also charted on both Ultratip Belgian airplay charts, peaking at 4 on the Flanders chart and 37 on the Wallonia chart.[24][25] On the Israeli television airplay chart, the song peaked at 5.[26] During the midweek chart update for the British singles chart, the song entered at number 1 and stayed there for three consecutive weeks.[27] "Black Magic" had the fourth highest debut of the year in the UK, as well as the biggest preorder sales of 2015. In its first week, the song had combined sales of 113,000, including 1.19 million streams and it became their first UK number one single since their 2012 single "Wings". In its second week the song remained at number 1 and has combined sales of 66,000, including 1.87 million streams. In its third week the song continued at number 1 and had combined sales of 60,000, including 1.97 million streams. They became the first girl group to have a number one remain there for longer than a week since Sugababes's "About You Now" in 2007.[28] The song also topped the European digital downloads chart.[29][30] In the Irish single charts, the song peaked at the 3rd position.[31]

In the United States, the song debuted at number 99 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending August 29, 2015, becoming the group's first entry on the chart since "Wings" (2012).[32] In the second week of it charting on the Billboard Hot 100, it climbed 31 spots to number 68; it achieved a new peak of 67 in its third week on the Hot 100, becoming the group's highest charting US single to date.

On 13 November 2015 the song was certified Platinum in the United Kingdom for sales exceeding 600,000. It became the first song by a girl group to be certified Platinum in the United Kingdom since "Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)" by A. R. Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls featuring Nicole Scherzinger in 2009.

Music video[edit]

Background and synopsis[edit]

"Yes, we have [filmed a music video] and we're excited. [...] So basically, it's completely different from whatever we've done before. We're acting this time, there's no dancing whatsoever and we all play different characters."

—Jesy Nelson talking to KISS FM about the music video.[33]

On 21 May 2015, the band posted the audio video of the song on their Vevo account.[20] The music video for the song was directed by Director X and was filmed at the University of Southern California on 22–23 May 2015 in Los Angeles. Talking about the video, Jesy Nelson also said to an interview in Capital FM that "we [the band] are acting which is exciting! They're like little mini movies which is exciting".[34] Jade Thirlwall also said that "it's nothing like we've done before and it's like a movie".[35] Just one day before its release, Leigh-Anne Pinnock posted on Twitter: "OMG! Can't believe the #BlackMagicVideo is live tomorrow on @Vevo_UK at 8am! So excited for you guys to see!"[36] The video premiered online on the band's Vevo channel on 29 May 2015.[37] Following the release of the video, the band posted several tweets on their account reacting to the fans' opinions for the music video.[38][39]

The video begins showing the campus, then introduces the band, who are dressed as nerds carrying their textbooks while exiting at a school building in the campus. During that, Jade suddenly falls off a pavement, causing also Leigh-Anne to fall also and Jesy avoided. They see a good looking male student (Mikey Grand) wave at them and become excited. However, he's actually waving to the beautiful and popular female student (Stefanie Michova) behind them, who nastily shoves them aside to approach the boy. The scene then changes to the library, where we see Jade take off her Beats headphones and search for a book. Out of nowhere, an old book falls on top of her head, unveiling some of its own powers. Later in the night, the girls open the book and use it in order to gain magical power. Perrie then turns her hair purple, Leigh-Anne has yellow fire powers, Jesy has blue powers, and Jade levitates her glasses. The girls change into their normal selves; becoming the real Little Mix, as some of the male students' jaws drop as the girls walk by. They then embarrass the spiteful girl from the previous day by magically causing her to constantly break wind. She then runs away in humiliation to the bathroom, while the scene changes to a geeky boy being humiliated by four beautiful but vindictive girls. The band feels sorry for the boy, so they make the girls fall in love with him. The girls then walks down the hall as everybody stares, intertwined with a scene of the girls standing back to back as the camera circles them. The scene then switches to a classroom, where the students aren't paying attention to the teacher. The girls use their magic to transform the classroom into a full on dance party, and then even the teacher (along with students) dance on the desks and chairs. They continue the party down the hallways of the school, as the video ends with "By Director X".

Reception[edit]

Little Mix as seen walking down the hallway of the campus in the music video for "Black Magic"; this scene was inspired from the 1996 cult film The Craft.

The video was received positively both by the fans and the critics. Critics noted references of witch-themed films and television shows such as The Craft, Charmed and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,[40] as well as the music video for "Too Much" by the Spice Girls.[41][42] Both Rigby from Digital Spy and Forrester from Mirror described the video as spellbinding.[43][44] Additionally, Forrester from Mirror said that the band "turned to Katy Perry for inspiration and the results are hilarious" and also compared the scene of the girls walking down the hall with the 1999 film She's All That.[44] Lucy Wood of Cosmopolitan said that the video is "a brilliant combo of Clueless, Sabrina The Teenage Witch and The Craft all in one go".[45] Capital FM wrote, "Take a dash of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, add a pinch of Mean Girls and throw in a little Charmed, and you've got yourself an INCREDIBLE video!"[46]

However, the music video also received some negative reviews. Mace Entertainment criticized the message of the video saying that "the general message that we get from the video is that if you want people to like you, shorten the length of your clothes, plump up your hair, wear more makeup, and embarrass other people".[47] The video received over 1 million views in less than 18 hours and 1.46 million in 24 hours.[48] The video peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Twitter Top Tracks on 27 June 2015.[49] As of June 2018 the music video has over 390 million views, making this Little Mix's most watched video.

Live performances[edit]

Little Mix performing at the Gibraltar Music Festival on 5 September 2015.

Little Mix performed "Black Magic" for the first time at Capital's Summertime Ball in Wembley Stadium on 6 June 2015.[50] On 5 June 2015, the band announced the Black Magic Radio Tour during which they would promote the song and their new music on several radio stations; the tour started on 8 June 2015 and ended on 12 June 2015 and included eighteen appearances in stations around the United Kingdom.[51] On 14 June 2015, they performed the song on the British radio show Total Access hosted by Elliot Holman.[52] They also performed acoustic performances of the song for biannual magazine Hunger on 22 June 2015 and for the British music channel 4Music on 3 July 2015.[53][54] On 5 July 2015, the band performed the song at the G-A-Y nightclub in London.[55] On 13 July 2015, Little Mix performed the song on ITV's This Morning while on 16 July 2015, the song was performed on the thirteenth episode of CBBC's Friday Download ninth season.[56][57] The band performed the song during Radio City's Summer Live in the Echo Arena among singers such as Rita Ora, Alesha Dixon and Nick Jonas.[58] On 30 July 2015, the band performed "Black Magic" in Plymouth during the first day of MTV Crashes Plymouth.[59] The band performed the song in BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge before performing a mashup cover of Jason Derulo's "Want to Want Me" and Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" with a gospel choir.[60] They also performed the song during the "Kiss Secret Sessions" for the Kiss music channel on 30 July 2015.[61] The band appeared on the light entertainment television show Surprise Surprise to perform the song and also surprise one of their fans.[62] On 5 September 2015, the band performed the song in the Gibraltar Music Festival.[63] Little Mix opened the Apple Music Festival in London for One Direction and performed "Black Magic" among other songs.[64] The band performed "Black Magic" during the two concerts of the 2015 Jingle Bell Ball on 5 and 6 December 2015.[65]

In the United States, they performed the song during The 1989 World Tour with Taylor Swift at Levi's Stadium on 15 August 2015 and one day later at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards.[66][67] On 17 August they performed the song in The Late Late Show with James Corden and also on The Today Show two days later.[68] During their performance on the tenth season of America's Got Talent, the band teamed up with season nine third-placed gymnastics group AcroArmy to perform the song.[69] On 22 August 2015, the band performed the song during the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.[70] In Denmark, the group performed "Black Magic" in Tivoli Gardens for The Voice '15, the annual concert by The Voice radio station and also on the morning show Go' Morgen Danmark.[71][72] In Sweden, the song was performed on TV4's Sommarkrysset,[73] and later on the Swedish version of Idol during the "Boy bands vs Girl bands" week.[74][75] In the Netherlands, the band performed the song during a fan event in Utrecht.[76] The song was performed during the band's 2016 Get Weird Tour. The song was part of Little Mix's setlist whilst supporting Ariana Grande on the North American leg of her Dangerous Woman Tour.

Cover versions[edit]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download
  1. "Black Magic" – 3:32
  • Remixes
  1. "Black Magic" (LuvBug Remix) – 4:01
  2. "Black Magic" (Cahill Remix) – 3:17
  3. "Black Magic" (Acoustic) – 3:27
  • German CD single
  1. "Black Magic" – 3:32
  2. "Black Magic" (LuvBug Remix) – 4:01
  3. "Black Magic" (Cahill Remix) – 3:17
  4. "Black Magic" (Acoustic) – 3:27
  • Japanese CD single
  1. "Black Magic" – 3:32
  2. "Black Magic" (LuvBug Remix) – 4:01
  3. "Black Magic" (Cahill Remix) – 3:17
  4. "Black Magic" (Acoustic) – 3:27

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
  • Mixed at MixStar Studios, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Recorded at Tileyard Studios, London, England
  • Vocals recorded at Blue Bar Studios, London, England
Personnel
  • Electric – songwriter, producer, engineer, instruments, programming
  • Ed Drewett – songwriter
  • Camille Purcell – songwriter
  • Matt Rad – additional producer
  • Maegan Cottone – vocal producer
  • Serban Ghenea – mixer
  • John Hanes – mix engineer
  • Dick Beetham – mastering

Credits adapted from CD single.[80]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 21 May 2015 Radio airplay Syco
United States[107] Digital download
Australia[108] 22 May 2015 Sony
Ireland[109] 10 July 2015 Syco
United Kingdom[110]
United States[111] 14 July 2015 Mainstream radio
  • Syco
  • Columbia

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  107. ^ "Black Magic — Single by Little Mix". United States: iTunes Store (Apple Inc). Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  108. ^ "Black Magic — Single by Little Mix". Australia: iTunes Store (Apple Inc). Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  109. ^ "Black Magic — Single by Little Mix". Ireland: iTunes Store (Apple Inc). Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  110. ^ "Black Magic — Single by Little Mix". United Kingdom: iTunes Store (Apple Inc). Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  111. ^ "Top 40 Mainstream Future Releases". All Access.