Caroline Rose : Superstar

Caroline Rose Superstar review

I wasn’t planning on writing about this album. I was up late one night. Seth Meyers on the flat screen, cold beer getting it done, then some randomly off-blonde in red shades, and a red outfit for that matter, starts dancing around on stage, shuffling around like a sheepish robot. Now iʻm locked. This was the Caroline Rose Late Night With Seth Meyers debut a few weeks back. Looking somewhat uncomfortable (which I found out later was a role commitment) with this commerce game, you know. Live TV. Young woman “shaking it” and all that poop emoji. But this got different. There was something quite charming about the way she was camping it up..making us partially believe: By the power of Grayskull “Becky” canʻt dance.

With her backing band, donning questionable thrift shop hipster chic pieces, aiming at some grade of funk. All of this extra-ness got to me. I bit at the selling point. That girl is playing my jam. Itʻs called fuckery.

It reminded me of this really old Rolling Stones video, “It’s Only Rock and Roll But I like it,” which ends with the Stones in a sea of bubbles. Charlie Watts, the shit-eating grin recognizable drummer of the band, almost drowned because he was sitting. Even Mick, whoʻs wearing women’s jewelry under a sailor’s suit, is taking the piss out of the business of promoting. So they went weird. So did Caroline Rose. This endearing goober cut through all the show biz noise and did something. Using that scheming anarchist heart she procured a rebuttal to all the boilerplate shite. And hey, the song wasn’t half bad. It made me curious about this artist’s takes on Pop.

I reached out to the publicist: “Hey, I just happened to catch Caroline Rose, unplanned, last nite. She was the coolest dork I’ve seen on late nite TV in a minute.  Music was catchy, far better than I expected. Solid hang.” She responded on brand: “That’s her vibe!”

“I imagine it as though [it’s] this sort of Icarus effect,” Rose stated in an NPR interview last week. “In which “this person is very brazenly confident, and then you watch this person really flying and soaring and thinking they’re the best when they’re probably not. And then throughout the album, it’s sort of a fall from the sky.”

So that’s Superstar, a pop-synth joker, gender-neutral story, written, recorded and produced by Rose in her 10 by 12-foot home studio, as well as on a portable rig she’d set up in green rooms while on tour. Pulling inspiration from cult classics The Bitter Tears of Petra Von KantMulholland Drive and the mockumentary Drop Dead Gorgeous, Superstar uses its 11 songs to schlep rock through blue-eyed wonky pastures. Similar to a three-act play mechanism. It begs for off-broadway street cred, but in reality, its financed on the great white way.

Carried over from her discovery third album Loner, Rose can flip phrases, dispatch cutting funny lyrics and build them into the sausage of indie-pop arrangements. Superstar is her sonic moment wanting to be Prince, hoping to sound like Dâm-Funk but eventually delivering some type of Jay-Som/FKA Twigs funkified hybrid.

None too shabby. She wrote, played every damn instrument, and engineered this all by her lonesome. Do yourself a favor and go down a YouTube k-hole and seek out her Noise Ordinance Studio sessions. Sis got chops for days. Dial-up the vid “Money,” and you will see this young woman, who is trying to get over on Superstar being a schlub, is actually a ridiculously talented musician. And if you canʻt see that, bub, you’re the fool.

Label: New West
Year: 2020

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