I only found out that La Roux had a new album after I caught an interview of Ellie Jackson’s in The Guardian. At that point, the album had already been released and I generally hadn’t heard a peep anywhere about it – not on my Twitter thingy, not on the Facebook box. No one was talking about this album and, apparently, no one was buying it – it sold less than 9,000 copies in its first week. Considering what a massive hit their last album was, I found the lack of interest for this album to be odd. For example, I still hear In for the Kill and Bullet Proof being played on the radio to this day.
Here is the thing, Trouble in Paradise is a super dope album. This record has had my ass for the better part of a month and I still can’t stop playing it. For my money, it is a much better piece of work than their/her self-titled album and it is a crying shame that people are not giving it a try. I can some up the reason why I love this album some much with just two words: the funk. The funk is everywhere on this album, you can’t escape it – whether you like it or not, you will dance to many tracks on this record.
Although this album still has that nostalgic vibe, the funk makes Trouble in Paradise a whole different ball game – the instrumentation just feels more substantive and less gimmicky. The sound of the album is not only of the past, but it also feels fresh and modern – something that the last record couldn’t boast.
At its heart, Trouble in Paradise, like La Roux, is a pop album, but I paid much more attention to the lyrics of her songs than I ever did in her first album. It would be easy to label Cruel Sexuality and Sexotheque as simple dance pop numbers but they both symbolise the new, darker approach that Ellie Jackson has employed. I don’t know what has happened to Jackson over the past couple of years, whatever it was her music has benefited from it. With refrains like, “Oh you keep me happy in my everyday life/ so why do you keep me in your prison at night”, you start to realise that maybe these songs are a little more than booty shakers.
Not to sound blasphemous but I’ve heard a lot of people compare this record to Depeche- Mode and the likes but when I listen to it I get hints of Prince and shades of Michael. Listen to Uptight Downtown and tell me it doesn’t remind you of Controversy era Prince? Structurally Sexotheque reminds me of Billie Jean – not just with it’s opening drum intro, but down to it’s deceptive dark undertones.
But it’s the song Silent Partner where Ellie Jackson shines brightest. I don’t think I have heard a better pop song than this in years… literally years. The song is more complicated than it has any right to be and the ambition she shows to go into an extended instrumental at the end of the song is just breath-taking. It is very difficult for a song to surprise me, but this one did so – over and over again, even after numerous listens.
Tropical Chancer is the only misstep on this album, it was the only time on the album where I thought the music felt forced. Other than that this is probably the best British album I’ve heard all year. How on earth it has been overlooked by so many I will never know. People should be Spotifying the hell out of this and, better yet, buying the whole thing.