For those who were in middle school, high school, or college in the 80s
The other night I was flipping through the channels, when I came across a
band so retro I didn’t know if it was a real group or a joke. I didn’t
know what show they were on, but assumed that it was a genuine show as
the ABC logo was on the bottom of the screen. The singer kept
repeating the word “bulletproof” over and over, so I figured if I
googled “bulletproof” I would find it, and find it I did.
this group is called La Roux, and they are a real music group. The
song is indeed called “Bulletproof.” I found their video online. It’s
hysterical. Not only does the song “Bulletproof” borrow a lot
musically from “You Spin Me Round,” but it also looks like the singer
has co-opted the Dead or Alive singer’s requisite punk sneer. It also
appears as if they resurrected part of the set from Olivia
Newton-John’s “Physical” video for this new video as well. To me, the LaRoux
chick’s vocal approach has more of a contemporary feel to it, drawing from rock and rap, so it’s not totally
retro, but pretty close to it.
and watching “Bulletproof” brings to mind a comment I read in one of
William Safire’s “On Language” columns in the NYT Magazine years ago.
He mentioned being kept awake at night by young people playing the guitar
in his attic in the style of “another generation’s disaffected youth.”
At the time I assumed he was talking about young people from the 1970s
and 80s who mimicked folk musicians/singer-songwriters from the 1950s
60s like Bob Dylan, as I knew many people who fit that description. At
the time though I never fathomed that the disaffected youth of my own
generation would similarly be imitated in the future. I don’t know why
I didn’t consider this possibility; I guess I was still too young to
appreciate it completely. Granted, the lead singer of Dead or Alive is
like a watered-down combination of Johnny Rotten and Boy George, but he
still comes across as disaffected nonetheless.
La Roux – “Bulletproof”:
Dead or Alive – “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”: