Caroline Rose : The Art of Forgetting

Caroline Rose the Art of Forgetting

The line between emotional vulnerability and oversharing can be thin. Listeners of all stripes and genres typically love a good confessional songwriter. We like finding artists who can share their world and their feelings, especially if listeners can themselves relate to the material and meanings of the songs. Yet, problems can arise because the line between dramatic and melodramatic is very thin. Artists who convey your thoughts and emotions in an honest and realistic way will endear themselves to an progressively wider and wider audiences, but the ones who prefer to gush without any sort of filters typically find themselves pigeonholed into small niches.

Caroline Rose seems to have a nuanced understanding of this dichotomy, and it’s the foundation of The Art of Forgetting. Throughout their newest album, their third on New West Records, Rose delivers a sublime study on emotional strength. Born out of their own busted relationships, this 14-track project reveals a compassionate and thoughtful artist frustrated by love but unwilling to give up on it.

Musically, Rose delivers a mature expansion of the various genres and sounds they’ve explored over their career. It’s easy to hear their Americana roots in the song structures and lyrical depth, especially when you listen for the humor and sensuality that pervaded 2018’s Loner and 2020’s Superstar. With this album, Rose aims for sumptuous art-pop, complete with the sort of big vision and hefty production scope that often entails. 

Their breathy vocals sit right up front in the mix so listeners can hear every single ache and pain in the lyrics. The arrangements balance clean ‘70s pop with dramatic ‘00s arena pop, thanks to a prodigious amount of pianos and synths. However, there’s plenty of teeth in the tunes, thanks to regular infusions of fuzzy guitars, silky string sections, quirky bass runs, and trip-hop beats.

For example, “Miami” begins with some acoustic Sheryl Crow energy before vaulting headlong into a rollicking groove that features snarling guitar licks, pummeling toms, and gut-punch vocals. On “Everywhere I Go I Bring the Rain,” Rose sings about a slowly crumbling relationship atop a jaunty acoustic guitar rhythm while kinetic keyboards swirl around the room. “The Kiss” finds Rose crooning with a brokenhearted sensuality atop a slowly building bank of spectral synths. Closing out the album, “Where Do I Go From Here?” delivers a slightly cliched anthem, complete with the necessary catharsis, but they inject the moment with a hefty dose of emotional realism.

The Art of Forgetting is a deft collection of sparkling songs and enticing ideas. Caroline Rose absolutely swung for the artistic fences with this album—and totally connected. Sitting just shy of bombastic while showcasing a delightful appreciation for dynamics and pacing, you hear the intentional influences of Björk, Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Feist.

Rose has given us an adroit exploration of what happens when you choose to take care of yourself and your emotions. Yes, these songs possess a rueful, knowing tone, but underneath it all, you hear a strong person who understand the power of moving forward instead of wallowing in misery. The Art of Forgetting highlights an artist who has learned that true nature of emotionally resonant songwriting: embrace the necessary lessons from the past and leave behind what you don’t need so you can focus on growth in the present and prepare the way for a bright future.

Label: New West

Year: 2023

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