6.2/10 (lyrics: 6.7/10, vocals: 7.3/10, melody and production: 4.5/10)
Elly Jackson, better known as La Roux, isn’t afraid to make listeners wait for new music – after a five year gap between her debut and sophomore albums, listeners had to wait another six years to get her third album ‘Supervision’. From what Jackson has said publicly, the writing process for her albums is often pained. Despite having said as early as 2015 that she was writing her third album, La Roux ended up discarding her earlier work for the album, and, in the end, the entirety of ‘Supervision’ was written between 2018 and 2019.
However, while the five year wait after her debut album was rewarded with the release of the spectacular ‘Trouble in Paradise’, ‘Supervision’ is somewhat underwhelming. In ‘Supervision’s’ defence, the album does display clear potential – the lyrical content is some of La Roux’s best. Reflecting on a lost relationship, La Roux accurately captures the agonising that takes place after a break-up (“After I waited so long to find you / Why did I let myself run and hide you?”). La Roux also presents a different side to herself; one where she has come to accept love (“I will believe in love / And I will believe in you”).
Unfortunately, the heartfelt, affecting lyrical content is countered by moments where the writing process seems as though it was carelessly rushed – like in ‘Automatic Driver’, where instead of adding more lyrics to the song, Jackson chooses to sing “Do-doo-doo” two and a half dozen times (she does this in ‘Everything I Live For’ and ‘He Rides’ as well).
What’s also disappointing about this album is how repetitive the tracks are – which is likely a symptom of the album being written within such a short period of time. Once you have listened to the first track on this album, it is almost as if you have listened to every track – bar the final one. Even having listened to this album multiple times, I’m still hard pressed to remember how ‘Otherside’ sounded different to ‘Everything I live For’ (or how ‘Do You Feel’ sounds different to ’21st Century’).
The only real change up in sound takes place in the eighth, and final track, ‘Gullible Fool’ – the standout track on the album. On this slowed down track, La Roux seamlessly moves from singing in falsetto to using her ‘chest voice’. In this final track, La Roux finds answers to the questions she asked earlier in the album and conveys more emotion and feeling than she has at any other point in the album. Apart from the needless 3 minute instrumental outro, it’s hard to find much at fault in this track. ‘Gullible Fool’ shows that while ‘Supervision’ may not be La Roux’s best work, as an artist, Jackson still has tons of potential and, there’s still good reason to be excited about her future projects (though we may be waiting a while to hear from her again).