6 True Stories That Inspired La Roux’s New Album

La Roux explains the dreams, guilt, and dodgy dudes behind her excellent new album. “You aren’t in control of the things that you want or feel.”

Can we talk about how great it is that La Roux is back?

Cherrytree / Interscope

Her new album, Trouble in Paradise, arrives July 22 — five years after she first stole our hearts with her self-titled debut in 2009. New singles “Let Me Down Gently,” “Uptight Downtown,” and “Tropical Chancer”” share the fluorescent DNA of her earlier work, but reupholstered with warmer and more organic instrumentation.

Seriously. Anyone who made this song is pretty much infallible.

To celebrate her return, we had La Roux, aka Elly Jackson, pick one word to describe songs from her new album. Then she explained each choice with a story. These are the results:

1. “Kiss and Not Tell” — Secrets

llustration by Jeff Guerrero for BuzzFeed

“This song is kind of the feeling of when you’re in a relationship and you both know the problems you might come up against maybe five years or 10 years into the relationship, but you choose to ignore them. I think everyone has those things. It could be something like ‘I hate your mum’ or something like that and you know that it’s going to be an issue at some point down the line, but you ignore it for the sake of your current love. It’s about all those secrets that you have that you both know about.”

2. “Cruel Sexuality” — Splicy

llustration by Jeff Guerrero for BuzzFeed

“We called it splicy because lyrically it’s a bout a series of dreams that I had that just kind of reminded me that you aren’t in control of the things that you want or feel. In a dream, you can’t really control what goes on in your head. And musically, it has a lot of different elements that we spliced together to kind of take you on an emotional journey.”

3. “Uptight Downtown” — Riotous

Illustration by Jeff Guerrero for BuzzFeed

“We wanted it to sound like a riot. The goal was to make you want to get up. It was loosely inspired by the energy of the London riots, but purely the energy — nothing else. We wanted to have a slickness to it as well. We pictured someone side stepping to the beat.”

4. “Sexoteque” — Cheeky

llustration by Jeff Guerrero for BuzzFeed

“There’s something in the way I sing it where you can hear me kind of smiling. I’m kind of making fun of a not very light-hearted situation. It’s got a bounciness and a cheekiness that I fell in love with while making it.”

5. “Tropical Chancer” — Sly

Illustration by Jeff Guerrero for BuzzFeed

“This is a story about a real person, a kind of dodgy trader who’s wheeling and dealing a bit under the radar. You might be walking down the street and they’ll shout out, ‘Purse for a pound!’ or whatever they’re selling. There’s a sitcom in the U.K. called Only Fools and Horses about a guy like that, and this is about the tropical version of him.”

6. “The Feeling” — 4:00 a.m.

Illustration by Jeff Guerrero for BuzzFeed

“I made this song at 4:00 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep one night about four years ago, a long time ago, when I still lived at my parents’ house. It’s a guilty tale, lyrically, which is all I’ll say about that. But it does have one of my favorite lyrics, which is, ‘On the outside I might seem strong, but really I’m just a loner / I don’t believe you really grow up, I’m just a child when you show up.’ I wanted it to be at the end of the album because it’s almost like a secret track.”

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