Junior sings, “This time, baby, I’ll be blaaaaaiiiiiiirrrrproof”. It sounds like an anthem for a resistant European Union.
She loves this song, loves its chorus whatever its words. This is understandable – gratifying, even – because ‘Bulletproof’’s toytown hook is one of the most delightful I’ve heard in years. It seems based on minimal effort (Elly Jackson pouting, sullen, around the studio) but the results are perfect, like an even more immediate ‘Ready For The Floor’. And like Hot Chip, La Roux’s cheap Casio sound is just that bit too tacky to sustain an album. Let’s hear it for the singles.
Nobody told me that you become more susceptible to glossy R&B with age; I’ve had to find out for myself. It was shocking at first, thinking “This Ne-Yo album knocks most modern pop into a cocked hat/Jordin Sparks sounds awesome on ‘No Air’/Everything Beyoncé does is – how do you say it? – The Bomb/Christ, I like more than one Leona Lewis song” etc, but now I wear my bling on my sleeve. Well, I’ve got a 10 quid Casio watch.
Although blessed with a silky, appealing voice, Keri Hilson doesn’t have the charisma to pull off the hits, so she gets in the smartest talent bankrolling can buy. Seem to remember Kanye being a smart talent, anyway. 808s & Heartbreak sounded superb on first listen, then turned out to be a moany nothing; neither was I sold on ‘Supernova’, but if we’re talking charisma, Mr Hudson hasn’t even come within a universe of an ounce of it. Kanye’s rap on ‘Knock You Down’ is a mess – the Michael Jackson gag not in the same league as the same on ‘Slow Jamz’ – so it’s left to Ne-Yo to give the song some class. His disbelief at wanting to spend more time with the missus than his mates – “I used to be commander-in-chief of my pimp ship flying high!” – is enough to carry the track alone, but credit to Hilson for some fine cracked vocals as this soppy song peaks.
“This is a lady singing,” Junior points out, puzzled because she thinks Keri is a boy’s name. Maybe if you’re a rotten Chelsea player. She then confirms that it looks like a lady on the cover, so it’s a relief for Keri even as the boys threaten to subsume her. Not that you can tell Junior anything – when I inform her Ne-Yo’s on the mic, she says “I knew that”, and it’s possible she did, what with the bounder being everywhere these past few years. His touch is magic enough, and Junior demands a repeat play.