Remember Little Boots? She was one of the umpteen female artists making electro-pop around 2009, all of whom inevitably got clumped together: her, La Roux, Ladyhawke, at one point Lady Gaga. So much has changed since. La Roux’s “Bulletproof” shot past the U.K. into the States, meaning vocalist Elly Jackson now gets to do all sorts of fun things. Ladyhawke–whoa, what’s she up to anymore? (Apparently releasing her sophomore album next year. Lady Gaga faded into the mists of the airwaves and charts, and when she came back, she was different. Little Boots mostly disappeared.
It wasn’t because of her music. There are differences between La Roux’s music and Little Boots, or both of theirs and Ladyhawke’s (we’re leaving Gaga out from now on, because she never really belonged in that list), but for single purposes, they’re minimal. Given different luck, or different management, or different configurations of different constellations on a different day, a track like “Earthquakes might have been the one to blow up.
This is quite the departure for Little Boots, isn’t it? We’re kidding; “Shake” isn’t a departure at all. It might be more of a pure dance track than some of Little Boots’ other tracks, building and receding above a steady beat and a repeated, robo-monotone “shake.” Its “everybody shake until your heart breaks” chorus, delivered like a sigh, hints at the tears-on-the-floor atmosphere that “Dancing On My Own captured so well, and Victoria Hesketh’s vocals glide inobtrusively above it all.
Everything about “Shake” is eminently competent, and it’d slot nicely into any DJ playlist or string of singles. Put another way, though, “Shake” isn’t the most attention-grabbing of singles–it’s so steady it lets itself recede into the background. That probably won’t be a problem in a club, mind you. Some songs yank you onto the floor; others gently persuade you. Neither’s better than the other, and even if “Shake” never gets a chance to prove that statement, it won’t be because of its quality.