In Sheffield artist John Reilly’s latest single, the anthemic ‘LA LA LA (Bulletproof)’, he sings, “All we need is a telephone / a satellite beaming me to your home.” It’s the perfect example of just one way many of us have tried to maintain some sense of normality during this long pandemic. Musicians are no different, they need that means by which to stay connected. And so, to a rocker who is desperate and determined to stay in connection, he uses any method at his fingertips, be it phones, satellites, the Internet, or smoke signals.
Reilly is the frontman and principal songwriter of Atlantic recording artists Boy on a Dolphin, so he already has a dedicated audience, and thus has every reason to believe that his songs will be enthusiastically embraced. Through his work with Boy on a Dolphin, and other projects, Reilly has crafted the sort of relationship with his audience that quarantine can’t put asunder. ‘LA LA LA (Bulletproof)’ is an uplifting and triumphant statement, it’s because even in the midst of a crisis he has his city behind him, whose people are literally made of steel.
John Reilly has been deeply involved in the public culture of Sheffield for decades, often taking inspiration from its history. He wrote passionately about the Women of Steel, and he helped to raise the £150,000 needed to erect the award winning statue which those women whose industrial labour helped the UK win two world wars. With his musical and literary tribute to the steelworkers he won everlasting respect, and a lasting place in the cultural history of his home town.
‘LA LA LA (Bulletproof)’ is piano-driven, and a stunning example of Reilly’s writing partnership with Canadian Lewis Nitikman. Right from the start it celebrates one thing that has been helping to keep us sane: the magic of a telephone to connect us with loved ones, no matter the distance. The stirring clip, directed by Rob Fitzgerald, is a lyric video, but also includes plenty of footage of the artist performing with his band, in front of a large enraptured crowd. Fitzgerald has also embedded the concert footage within shots pulled from vintage science fiction movies, and it’s a glorious juxtaposition of old and new, following a 1960s Japanese sci-fi hero “Starman” in his quest to save the earth. Every rocket launch, every shot of a space station, and every interstellar flight provides a stunning visual metaphor for Reilly’s determination to bend time, and space, laugh in the face of misfortune, and bring his music to you. Check out John Reilly here.