[3] La Roux, ‘Kiss And Not Tell’

la-roux-2014

It’s only right and proper that Elly Jackson notched up all those No.1 singles in 2014 (and that platinum Mercury-winning album, of course), because she wrote five to six of the best pop songs of the year, and naturally chart triumphs ensue. She couldn’t have done all that without support from Radio 1, so it’s fortunate the Nation’s Favourite was in her corner. And why wouldn’t it be? Trouble In Paradise spoke to its core remit.

Hang on, what did you just say?

“I know it and I love it,” says Junior 3, who’s gained that knowledge from her old man playing the album on repeat because IT’S NOT AS IF ANYONE ELSE DID, is it? “Fun!” says Junior. She and Junior 2 know all the words because obviously you couldn’t move for La Roux on the airwaves this year etc etc.

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[17] Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, ‘Bang Bang Bang’

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl

The first song to make a meal of ‘Alouette’ this year does it with every bleeding idea that occurs to it. Cheryl Cole’s ultra-mannered take is bewildered, this is just bewildering. Ronson has gone back to the 80s, but rather than plunder plinky-plonk synths like every other La Roux under the sun, he turns to that decade’s forgotten everything-goes ethos and finds something cogent in a mix of squirty electro, Prince soul, teeny bop and bouncy hip hop nursery rhymes. If this doesn’t prove the man has mad skillz then nothing does.

In fact, these are just the latest in a long line of ‘Alouette’ bastardisations. Junior’s reminded of another she learned on holiday in Corfu with frankly manic dance actions to go with it. She then adds some more jerky steps, seemingly filched off Go-Jos routines from early Top Of The Popses. We have a right old ball. And that’s Ronson’s bag.

[3] La Roux, ‘Bulletproof’

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.

Time is running out:

La Roux, ‘In For The Kill’

La Roux

Now, I bow to no man in my devotion to all things synthy/plonky/tinny, but aren’t La Roux a step too far? Isn’t theirs a slavish fixation on 1981 electrobop, right down to the hairsprayed-within-an-inch quiff? Isn’t it all an unseemly retread? No!

Hmmm. Yes. Maybe. But it doesn’t matter when it’s done with this much panache, with this many hooks, with a singer possessed of just the right amount of pouty glower to slip seamlessly into Ultravox. June Ackland’s daughter Elly Jackson is doing a marvellous job rubbing everyone up the wrong way – well, rubbing interviewers up the wrong way, while the public falls for her in swoony droves – and that’s how we like our pop stars. OK, that’s how we like some of our pop stars. More than a handful of Mark E Smiths is too much of a good thing.

Anyway, let’s take opinions from a cross-section of the kids.  Junior pouts like a common Elly and says she doesn’t like ‘In For The Kill’. Is it the auditory challenge of Jackson’s high-pitched trill? No, she just wants to watch Milkshake. Different response from Junior 2 – let’s call her A-Trak – who bodypops in her highchair with all the glee that Junior’s pouted out.

La Roux, then: big with the kids unless Peppa Pig’s on.

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