La Roux – “Supervision” Album Review

Story posted February 12, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Scott Perdue

New-wave and synth pop artist La Roux is back with her third studio album “Supervision.” Returning after a noticeable five-year hiatus, La Roux takes things back to basics with her latest release.

Elly Jackson, better known by her stage name La Roux, rose to popularity in 2009 with her massive hit “Bulletproof.” Always just a few steps away from true notoriety, La Roux has consistently struggled to cement her position in the pop mainstream. Technically not a one-hit wonder, La Roux followed up her debut album several years later with the cult-classic “Trouble In Paradise.” Experiencing difficulties with her personal life, La Roux scrapped the project she had been working on for the past few years. Starting from scratch, her latest release marks an unfortunate regression in her sound which seems to drag her even further away from obtaining the widespread acclaim she deserves.

Opening with the sparky “21st Century,” La Roux makes a solid entrance onto the album. The techno infused bouncy beat helps to carry Jackson’s light vocals perfectly.

However, the album immediately loses its traction with the tedious “Do You Feel.” The track lacks even the slightest distinction from the song before it. Her commentary feels forced and too universal.

La Roux attempts to then add back in a dash of energy with the lighthearted “Automatic Driver.” The track displays the classic La Roux brand sound, but it is so basic that it sounds like it could have been pulled from any of La Roux’s previous albums. She seems to have lost her direction. Her music has lost its identity; the sound feels too generic.

La Roux then tries to spice things up with the bright “International Woman of Leisure.” The song feels a little too timid to broadcast the confidence of her message. This track also displays La Roux’s voice seemingly at its breaking point. She attempts several times to sing at a high-pitched level, but cannot quite reach a solid rhythm.

La Roux then returns with the breezy pop beat she had featured earlier on the album with “Everything I Live For.” A fairly standard pop track, the song feels too bland. This song displays Jackson’s tendency to play things a little too safe, which coincidentally limits the listener’s ability to develop any real interest in what she has to say.

Unfortunately, La Roux never truly recovers the traction of the album. Overall, the listen lacks any real substance and her offerings do not seem to have the grip they once had. Track after track feels under-inspired and lackluster. La Roux’s choice to start from scratch when attempting to salvage her album led to the songs sounding noticeably uniform.

La Roux seems to be going through an identity crisis. She has transitioned beyond the tropical infused sound she had experimented with on the tragically underrated “Trouble In Paradise.” However, there are still fragments of her island vacation aesthetic woven throughout “Supervision.” She had proven that she still had more to offer past her debut with her solid second album, but her current message feels muddied. She seems almost defeated and her music lacks the confidence she once possessed. The flashy art-pop persona she used to boldly broadcast, now feels forced and flimsy. Unfortunately, her music no longer feels like it is just about to scratch the forefront of the pop mainstream.

An underwhelming addition to La Roux’ discography, “Supervision” seems to showcase a step backwards for her career. The challenges that La Roux experienced between albums seems to have stalled her progression, and the wait time between her projects has only proven to diminish her status as a rising pop star. Hopefully on a future release, La Roux will attempt to push the boundaries of her sound further in order to demonstrate why she is still worth keeping an eye on as we move further and further away from her initial breakout success.

Rating: 5/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “21st Century”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Do You Feel”

 


Scott Perdue is a junior majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email rsp5246@psu.edu.