Capsule Review: Supervision

A few thoughts about La Roux’s new album, Supervision.

la roux supervision

  • I waited 6 years…: Okay maybe that’s being a little rough, but La Roux (real name Elly Jackson) is a pop artist who is pushing the boundaries on how long it can take to put out a new studio album during the theoretical height of their career. I understand that Jackson does other things, like feature on other artists tracks, make remixes, obviously she needs time to go out and tour, write and record, and between her last album, 2014’s Trouble in Paradise and now, she created her own label. But…6 years, Elly? That’s a long time. That’s a real long time for fans to wait… for an album with only 8 songs. It feels even longer because we waited five years between La Roux’s 2009 debut and Trouble In Paradise.

    Just quickly doing the math here – in 11 years as an artist, La Roux has put out 3 actual studio albums (including Supervision), and not including b-sides, that gives us a total of 29 tracks. That’s just straight up unproductive. That’s, on average, making 2 or 3 songs a year for 11 straight years. And if you don’t include the debut, it looks even worse: 17 new songs in the 10 years. Look, I’m not an artist, I don’t claim to be. I can’t sing, I can’t write meaningful lyrics, I don’t perform in front of thousands of people. There’s no pressure for me to succeed. I sit here behind a screen writing about all of it with little consequence, but even I’m starting to think that I could write and produce more songs than La Roux. Daft Punk hasn’t put out an album in 7 years, but you don’t see me complaining about that because they’re Daft Punk. They’ve earned the right to take as much time as they want because they changed music history at least two or three times during their career. Of course, La Roux isn’t Daft Punk in terms of popularity or influence (or let’s be real, sheer talent), so that could be an unfair comparison…and she has written a lot of good songs in the past, but what’s the point of taking this long to release something when….

  • And all I got was the same groove: Okay, so: 6 years for 8 songs with a running time of about total 42 minutes – the wait would be worth it, of course, if Supervision took the fun tropical pop of Trouble in Paradise to new, interesting places. But, Supervision doesn’t do that. Supervision finds one groove at one tempo, and stays there.

    bpm
    It’s definitely worth saying that it’s not an objectively bad groove, in fact, it sounds really good on songs like “21st Century,” “International Woman of Leisure,” and even on the long “Everything I Live For.” But, the album stays so stagnant that I personally had a lot of trouble deciphering the songs from one another. It all sorta blends together in a single-flavor blended tropical fruit drink and never expands or takes chances. With each song coming in at a minimum of 4 minutes and change, and the majority being over 5 minutes long, you just become bored of hearing the same thing, even with Elly Jackson doing her best to keep things relatively interesting.

  • I am your big brother: Elly, why are you so mad? Why are you glaring straight into my soul on the cover of this album? Yes, it’s the first record you made completely without your former songwriting partner Ben Langmaid, so maybe you’re trying to convey through your blurry stare that this album is yours and yours only, but why do I, as a listener need supervision in the form of you staring at me?

Hopefully it’s not 6 years till the next one.

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