45 at 33: La Roux’s Bulletproof

Born in Brixton, London as Eleanor Kate Jackson on 12 March 1988, that someone as deeply, compellingly odd as high-haired electro-ice maiden Elly Jackson should become a proper mainstream pop star in the Noughties with a series of eccentric electronica records is one of those heartswelling revenge-of-the-outsider stories. 

Looking at the charts in 2009, you would have been forgiven for not anticipating a pure and unabashed synth-pop track to rocket into the top 10. La Roux are, in fairness to the duo that they once were, no strangers to great hooks and aesthetically compelling material.

That said, there is something undeniably canonising for a track in a genre that otherwise had its commercial heyday decades ago to suddenly and inexplicably be everywhere. We sometimes forget the “pop” part of the genre, but it carries its weight too; this type of material only intensifies in power the more people know it, sing tunelessly along with it, drink with it, party to it. There may be other songs in their impressive if small oeuvre that resonate with you more, but there is no song more quintessential of the group (or, in fact, synth-pop as a modern enterprise) than this one.

Ladies and gentlemen, copping a Factor Max from Visage’s The Anvil era, this is Bulletproof.

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Steve Pafford
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