Caroline Rose Album Review

Superstar (New West)

Caroline Rose Album Review

It now seems like another life: the moonlit alternative Americana of Caroline Rose's promising 2014 debut, I Will Not Be Afraid. Her plunge into pop with 2018's Loner only goes deeper with Superstar, where synthesizer melodies gleam over basslines that wouldn't feel out of place on a Michael Jackson album, and deluxe hooks hit all the right neurons in your brain. Then there are the lyrics ... which identify LP No. 4 as a close cousin of feel-good pop: feel-weird pop. Communicated through one character with parallel existences and carried by Rose's sardonic wit and delightful detailing, Superstar serves up a tale of big-headed ambitions and the snipe hunt for true love. It begins with a phone call from Los Angeles prompting a relocation, a breakup, and presumed Hollywood stardom. "Remain humble, not like all these fakers/ Always get bleacher seats sitting at the L.A. Lakers," sings Rose on "Got to Go My Own Way." In a plot playing out over 11 tracks, the protagonist finds new affection, becomes self-obsessed, co-conspires unhealthy relationships, gets replaced by her lover, and makes multiple brand new starts. In most of them, amour remains the seemingly unattainable goal. Amid echoey groover "Back at the Beginning," the multi-instrumentalist espouses existential regret: "If I could do this again, I'd come back as a white flag and pacify my existence." Conceptual grower, Superstar evolves stylistically as the playlist progresses. The front half, with "Nothing's Impossible" and "Feel the Way I Want To," gives the impression of candied beat pop, while side B ventures into dreamlike indie territory via "Pipe Dreams" and "I Took a Ride." All together, a mischievous lyricist captures the new West.


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