Monday, November 11th, 2019

La Roux – International Woman of Leisure

No longer bulletproof…


Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The Charlie’s Angels soundtrack song we deserved: Elly Jackson returning to claim her crown as the most charming angular dance pop vocalist of the decade with a song that’s all flash and treble. There’s nothing substantial in the material here, and that’s to her benefit. It’s a flex on the level of Mims saying that he could make a mil saying nothing on the track — La Roux can be twice as groovy as you without moving an inch from their first position.

Kylo Nocom: The second I heard that GBA honking I knew I was in good hands. Elly Jackson still writes the same wonderfully nervy hooks as she did on Trouble in Paradise; here, every syllable in the title phrase contributes to a satisfyingly consonant cadence in the chorus. The production’s familiarly stark palette of jangly guitar strums conjoined with wobbly electronics maintain La Roux’s uniquely lightweight qualities, and After Laughter-era Paramore seems to be the most reasonable comparison. Even then, “International Woman of Leisure” is still more effortless a tune. Perhaps that’s an issue — one would hope for a protagonist so well traveled to have picked up new tricks — but I still find this a comfortable pleasure.

Natasha Genet Avery: What makes kiss-off songs tick is their infectious and effortless confidence. “International Woman of Leisure” tries a little too hard: the title makes for a good Instagram caption, but when crammed into a chorus, the catchphrase feels clunky and insincere. Sonically, “International Woman” feels similarly overstuffed with corny funky-lite guitars, busy-yet-boring percussion, and an inexplicable synth outro.

Thomas Inskeep: A bit too sunny and upbeat, and it doesn’t pair well with her high-pitched singing on the verses. It’s like someone trying to make a highlife record who doesn’t really understand highlife, I think.

Alfred Soto: Vulgar I can handle. Grotesque too. Better both than this skittering nothingness that can’t even manage a decent falsetto. 

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Might be a halfway decent jam if La Roux got anywhere close to hitting any of the notes she’s trying to hit. 

Oliver Maier: La Roux has never been an especially strong vocalist, though the sterile, maximal production of her biggest hits compensated for this through sheer force of will, shoving her vocals to the front and then cranking everything else up to match. “International Woman of Leisure” suffers from quite the opposite problem, everything sounding too limp, too muddied. Her higher register on the verses is downright grating, particularly over the stuttering, unconvincing groove, and then she all but disappears into the wallpaper on her own hook. What should be a breezy, effortlessly dynamic kiss-off lands instead as strained and uninteresting.

William John: When I first heard this I found the vocal take in the first verse galling and unacceptable, to the point that I had to turn it off. Then I read that Elly Jackson had been forced to completely retrain herself to sing sometime before releasing her last album, which softened that view somewhat and elicited some sympathy from me. Nevertheless, it’s hard to be too excited about something that would’ve been a lesser light on Trouble In Paradise.

Kayla Beardslee: The musical equivalent of sugar glass.

Reader average: [3] (3 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

2 Responses to “La Roux – International Woman of Leisure”

  1. doomed to be not as good as its title but there’s a kind of jury-rigged charm to this, like if you scorched “Let Me Down Gently” to its foundations, and then tried to sing amid the smoke

  2. La Roux’s take on chillwave attempts to be a beachside, neon-glitzed groove, but playing the song through a loudspeaker would probably sound just as engaging as if it were heard through an air conditioning vent or modified for one of those “*insert artist here* played in another room” edits; that is to say, not at all.

Leave a Reply