100 for 2000 – #99. La Roux – La Roux

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2009 – #9. La Roux – La Roux
(Polydor)

I sometimes think that at another time, another year, I might have hated this record. But for some reason, this was a year for the girls. And as much as it’s flashy commercial pop, there is something really gritty and 80s about La Roux. I love how it nods to Yaz, whose Only You I have been in love with all my life, but only got a best of a year or so before I heard this album.

Front woman Elly Jackson‘s voice is a problem for some, but it’s really what makes this band for me. It doesn’t sound like the same old Kelly Clarkson generic popster. It is a hugely distinctive voice. There’s something kind of ugly about it, and yet singing such pretty melodies – it makes for something quite captivating.

2009 was not a year for rock. There just wasn’t that many good rock records. And my interests in electronica continues. So for that, I embraced this record, with all it’s blips and blops. And they are great blips and blops.

The big singles are all flawless slices of pop. Bulletproof was the unexpected breakout hit. It’s a rush, with a big chorus hook, and everyone from buskers to M Ward covered it immediately. I’m Not Your Toy and In For the Kill are just as good.

What the hell is Jackson singing about? I have no idea. Bulletproof sounds like some sort of empowering anthem, but it’s probably best to not read the lyrics off the page. There’s just enough to keep you hooked though. Tigerlily‘s awesome, awesome refrain of ‘burning with desire for a kiss‘ tells you all you need to know about the song.

There’s even a couple of great, quieter moments. As If By Magic dials the energy down for a touching moment. The haunting, dramatic Armour Love is a perfect way to (almost) end the album.

Seeing La Roux at Shepherd’s Bush Empire late last year was fantastic. That brittle voice held up, and watching Jackson throw herself (and that dangerous hairdo) around the stage was great. Every girl in the place sang every word to Bulletproof in defiance of…well…something I’m sure. Who cares. Pop music doesn’t need to be that deep.

Elly Jackson of La Roux doesn’t do much dancing in the Bulletproof clip. Still a blistering pop song.

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