English synth-pop artist Elly Jackson, known by the stage name La Roux, released her third studio album called “Supervision” on Feb. 7, 2020. La Roux blasted to the pop mainstream back in 2009 after releasing her grammy winning self-titled album with former record producer Ben Langmaid. “Supervision” is a continuation of La Roux’s synth-pop sound. The album is just under 42 minutes with eight songs.
La Roux’s “Supervision” is an underwhelming mixed bag. Most of the album feels regressive compared to the previous music that La Roux has released. While La Roux’s signature synth-pop dance is present throughout the record, listeners will find themselves disappointed to hear a lack of progression in her art.
To be honest, this album left a sour taste in my mouth after the first listen. The album isn’t a horrible project by any means, but it lacks the same attitude and flavor that listeners come to expect out of La Roux. Expectations were high for “Supervision,” but the album did not live up to the same standard of past La Roux albums.
Production-wise, the album continued the 80’s pop and funk inspired aesthetic that La Roux undoubtedly succeeds in. “Supervision” contains many of the same light and disco inspired ear-worms that put La Roux on the map, with tracks such as “Do You Feel” and “Gullible Fool”. Catchy beats and melodies are scattered throughout the record for listeners to enjoy and dance to.
Lyrically, La Roux discusses her personal struggles and lack of personal fulfillment in tracks such as “21st Century,” with lyrics such as “I wasn’t satisfied at 25 or 23, Oh will you let me find it” suggesting a constant search for happiness that is never fully discovered.
There really are some bright points on this album, regardless of my negative opinions. La Roux shows that she still has fun and fresh concepts to display, regardless of what others think. Also, the production was very well mixed, with beautiful hooks and transitions.
Unfortunately, I feel that there is more bad than good on this record. To start, it feels like La Roux is using the same elements and instrumentation in the record. While this may appease new listeners of La Roux, to me it shows a lack of musical growth to a new theme or direction.
What I liked about this album was La Roux’s unique throwback style. She shows that she can harness the 80’s sound and switch it to fit with 2020. If you want a catchy 80’s inspired album to dance to, then La Roux’s “Supervision” will fulfill your wish.
Now here are the negatives. If you wanted to see growth in La Roux’s sound and enticing lyrics to study and enjoy, then “Supervision” fails. The album took around four months to complete, but I really wish La Roux could have spent more time honing her craft on this.
Former bandmate Ben Langmaid left the band in 2014, and it is pretty glaring to see the problems of his absence. Also, the last album from La Roux was in 2014 with “Trouble in Paradise.” Six years later, we received an album with only 42 minutes and eight songs. Now I understand that art takes time, but a six-year absence just to bring 42 more minutes of music is not ideal.
In conclusion, “Supervision” lacks the same tone and playfulness seen in previous La Roux albums. It is a mixed bag of songs that show La Roux at her best and at her worst. I am still excited to see what the English synth-pop architect has in store for the future, but La Roux may have to go back to the drawing board to appease long-time listeners.