June 30, 2009

La Roux - - The Future of Pop Music?

The collaboration between singer Elly Jackson and producer Ben Langmaid (both from London) is the latest heavily promoted eighties revival pop act. Although they are gathering more press coverage in Europe right now (which is usually the case with avant-garde musical acts) they are traveling to North America for several shows in select major cities (the Toronto date is July 31st at El Mocambo). Pulling influences from David Bowie, Blondie, The Knife, Hot Chip and other modern and retro electronic acts, La Roux features a androgynous lead singer (Jackson) supported by a bouncy retro infused electronic backdrop. With the amount of hype they are receiving in France, The Netherlands, and the UK, one might ask when their popularity in the US and Canada will grow...and I'm not sure it will happen. With the amount of retro eighties infused pop acts polluting the air waves at the moment (Lady Gaga being the obvious poster girl, as well as LMFAO...yuck) La Roux may be dismissed as an act riding on the coattails of the growing eighties musical nostalgia. Their music isn't bad but it also leads one to wonder why talented acts like Robyn haven't received as much hype or press coverage. Robyn is just (if not more talented and innovative than La Roux) but seems to be ignored by the mainstream press in the US and Europe. Not only can Robyn sing (she was groomed to be one of the pop queens of the late 1990s) but she writes and co-produces almost all of her material as well as runs her own record label. However, the growing popularity of La Roux as well as other eighties pop acts may be a positive change in an industry where appearance rules over talent (Heidi Montag, Britney Spears, Brooke Hogen, Paris Hilton??) hopefully bands like La Roux may change people's ideas of how to market music and revive a fledgling industry (when was the last time YOU felt like paying for a song?). If more bands with talent and musical integrity are pushed by major record labels and auto-tune finally dies (I can dream can't I?), pop music may finally see a rebirth.


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