Bulletproof (La Roux song)

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"Bulletproof"
Single by La Roux
from the album La Roux
Released 21 June 2009 (2009-06-21)
Format
Recorded Elfin Studios
(Teddington, London)
Genre
Length 3:25
Label Polydor
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Elly Jackson
  • Ben Langmaid
La Roux singles chronology
"In for the Kill"
(2009)
"Bulletproof"
(2009)
"I'm Not Your Toy"
(2009)

"Bulletproof" is a song by English synthpop duo La Roux from their eponymous debut album, La Roux (2009). Written and produced by members Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid, the song was released digitally in the United Kingdom on 21 June 2009 and physically the following day as the album's third single.

"Bulletproof" was met with both critical and commercial success, debuting at number one on the UK Singles Chart.[1] It was a sleeper hit in the United States, where it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2010, following televised performances of the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Last Call with Carson Daly. It has been downloaded 2,324,000 times in the US as of September 2012.[2] It also reached within the top ten of Australia, Austria, the Belgian territory of Flanders, Ireland, New Zealand and Ukraine.

Writing[edit]

Jackson discussed writing "Bulletproof":

"We started it, and it felt really good. We had a great verse, and then we did about five choruses. The lyric went "This time I'll be... " and there was too much of a gap. We'd both been sitting there in silence for ages trying to work it out. Suddenly, we both looked up and went "This time, baby" and thought, "Yes, let's get it down." I do remember that when we wrote that, we thought "Call the manager, we've got the one"."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

"Bulletproof" received acclaim from music critics. One author of Pitchfork Media called it "a catchy-as-hell electro-pop smash",[4] and another one, Joshua Love, called it the best song on La Roux.[5] Digital Spy music editor Nick Levine gave the song five stars and described it as "a bright, bouncy slice of Yazoo-ish electropop with a chorus every bit as immediate as 'In For The Kill'", adding that "Jackson's vocals are less shrill this time around, but she comes off just as formidable, informing a useless sod who's messed her about that she won't be letting him do it again."[6] Fraser McAlpine of the BBC Chart Blog, who also awarded the song five stars, stated that "the one sentence that crops up most often goes something like this: "...yes, 'Bulletproof' is brilliant, but...", hinting that this might be a song which possesses magical powers of persuasion." He went on to give five points on why the song is good: marvellous verses, marvellous chorus, the music serves the song brilliantly, less shrill to the singing, and the vocoder breakdown.[7] Adam R. Holz of Plugged In opined "Homage isn't a strong enough word to capture just how uncannily La Roux has repackaged the that vibe of yore popularized by the likes of Erasure, The Human League, Depeche Mode and Eurythmics."[8]

In a more mixed review from Common Sense Media, however, Stephanie Bruzzese, giving "Bulletproof" two stars, called the song a "less creative imitation of the classic tunes created by [1980s groups including Depeche Mode, Erasure, and The Human League]", criticizing the chorus for being "nothing unique" and Jackson's vocal performance which he described as "a higher, whinier version of Alison Moyet's". On a lighter note, he highlighted the lyrical content for being clean and the strong positive message, suggesting to parents that the song was appropriate for kids twelve years of age or older.[9]

In a September 2014 interview, Jackson expressed regrets of "Bulletproof"'s critical and commercial success, because it was one of the reasons she was experiencing panic attacks while touring for the debut album: "I wasn't that keen on it. I don't know if I want to have a hit like that again [...] But it's 10 years ago for me now and I think it's weird when so many people see you as being represented by that song, and you feel so far away from it. [...] You stop being able to be respected in any way shape or form. I started to feel that basically [...] I really didn't like it" Also in the interview, she looked back at the song's music video, saying she'd "wish I could erase it! I don't want it to erase the house that I bought from it."[10]

Music video[edit]

Directed by The Holograms@UFO and Production Design by Alun Davies, the video starts with various retro patterns and abstract geometric designs in one scene. Then the camera shows Jackson sitting in a chair in a bright setting with her eyes closed. Then the song starts and Jackson leaves the chair and the camera pans to show random designs of La Roux which are shown behind her. She continues to walk, while singing the song itself. At the bridge of the song she stops and then the song starts to build to the chorus and she starts walking again, while 3D shapes (including polyhedra) are bouncing around her. The video ends with Jackson sitting back in dark setting with her eyes open. During the video, there is a variation of Jackson in the setting of bright and dark colours. Throughout the video Jackson is styled in high fashion clothes by House of Holland and others where references to Piet Mondrian's lozenge works can be seen.

Cover versions and sampling[edit]

In 2010, Australian classical pop band Aston recorded a cover version of "Bulletproof" on their self-titled debut album.[11] A hi-NRG/eurodance version was recorded by Belle Lawrence, which a sample can be heard on the official Almighty Records website.[12] Natalia Kills performed an acoustic version on Germany's Radio Hamburg in late January 2011.[13] It was heavily sampled by South Korean singer NS Yoon Ji in her single "Don't Go Back", which was released in May 2010.[14]

Accolades[edit]

Year Publication Country Rank List
2009 Rolling Stone United States 25 The 25 Best Songs of 2009[15]

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[56] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[57] Platinum 10,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[58] Gold 7,500*
United Kingdom (BPI)[59] Gold 530,524[60]
United States (RIAA)[61] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
United Kingdom 21 June 2009[16] Polydor Records Digital EP
22 June 2009[62][63] CD single, 7" single
United States 21 July 2009[17][64] Cherrytree Records, Interscope Records CD single, digital EP
11 May 2010[18] The Gold EP (digital)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ "Elly Jackson: 'It's not just being catchy'". The Independent. 19 May 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "La Roux: "Bulletproof"". Pitchfork Media. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Love, Joshua (18 September 2009). "La Roux: La Roux". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Levine, Nick. "La Roux: 'Bulletproof'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  7. ^ McAlpine, Fraser (15 June 2009). "La Roux – 'Bulletproof'". BBC Chart Blog. BBC Online. Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  8. ^ R. Holz, Adam. "Track Reviews – La Roux: "Bulletproof"". Focus on the Family. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Bruzzese, Stephanie. ""Bulletproof" (CD Single)". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
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  56. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 11 november 2014.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
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  58. ^ "Latest Gold / Platinum Singles". RadioScope. Media Sauce. 15 November 2009. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
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  62. ^ "Bulletproof". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
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External links[edit]