Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Caroline Rose, Superstar, 2020

Album Review

By Rose Lamela

I remember hearing Caroline Rose's album Loner back in 2018. It got me to stop what I was doing, and I replayed it a few times on the same day. This happens every once in a while but never after listening to anything that resembles pop music. Despite its heavy pop influence, Loner made my top ten for two years. I even got a chance to see Caroline Rose play live at Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. Her performance completed my fandom. It's the comedic aspects of her songs that translate best with her in the room. Her dancing and theatrics are worth the ticket.

Early this year, the news came in of a new album followed by a music video for the single "Feel the Way I Want." Superstar was on its way. Then we got single "Freak Like Me" and the announcement of a show at SXSW. I panicked when the whole SXSW thing went to hell last Friday, but Caroline Rose is coming to Brooklyn on March 25th, so it's not the end of the world... ...Or is it?

Superstar slaps you with some serious synth riffs right from the get-go and draws you in with the song "Nothing's Impossible." Its crescendo tricks you into thinking you missed a track. I literally got off the couch to check for the new song title. The jazzy meltdown was a nice touch.

The album has a mild start but really gets you up with the song "Do You Think We'll Last Forever?" It has a good dance beat and a few pleasing dramatic transitions. The lyrics sound like someone who is in a codependent relationship making sure that the one they love stays put. The upbeat, lighthearted music convinced me it was a dramatic version of a heartfelt crush. I might have danced alone in my apartment this weekend. I will never tell. If I did dance, it would have been to this song.

"Feel the Way I Want" sits right in the middle of the album, and I think that is a fine choice. It has a dance-y pop element to it with a positive message that brings some light, perhaps, to the artist's challenge of staying true to who they really are despite the noise. Maybe hinting at the price of fame? Not sure, but it was super cool to see Caroline Rose on Late Night with Seth Myers.

The next track I really like is "Pipe Dreams." The circusy notes on the keyboard gave it a bit of a darker yet comical tone. The song describes the evolution of a relationship despite "that seed of doubt they planted deep inside your head," they being family and friends. There is something cynical about the song that draws me.

"Someone New" is also a really upbeat, solid pop song. It comes in slow and then goes into overdrive. The vocals are almost slightly hidden in the haze of the song. It's catchy as hell, and you are guaranteed to be humming it for days.

The album ends with "I Took a Ride." This song is the most passionate of the tunes. It's kind of trippy but then gets soulful. After this song, you get the sense of a struggle in this relationship; and there is some kind of pain that translates into the last track. I keep trying to figure out if this is a romantic relationship or perhaps something to do with fame.

Superstar is a bit of a change up from Loner. I found it to be more interesting as the songs have multiple moods at times. There are more dramatic bridges and short fillers within the album. There were times I had to look up the lyrics to find the hidden humor as the music itself comes off more serious. I also feel like you can hear Caroline Rose more as a singer on this album. I enjoyed it, and it's been on repeat in my car since Friday. Go check it out!!!

Superstar is out now on New West Records.

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