Caroline Rose – Superstar

On her fourth album, Superstar, Caroline Rose choreographs a glitzy rise-and-fall scenario for a symbiotic alter ego. The record plays with the idea of it all, stardom and its catches, but it doesn’t get its feelings hurt; it’s got a chip on its shoulder and a tongue in its cheek. For that reason, it’s a party the whole way through. Caroline Rose can take the character to any lengths and even reveal true feelings through the eye of the superstar. It’s an age-old concept that somehow feels new in the way Rose performs it.

The Caroline Rose you see now is a long way from her relatively humble beginnings. She made southern boot heel music for barn crawls in 2014. Good stuff mind you, though we thought that was the short and long of it. Four years later she joined New West Records and completely reinvented herself as a sweatsuit stunner with ironic indie slumber party bangers. The artist was almost unrecognizable to the former self, and she was seeing the beginning of something much bigger. She’s rounded out the decade with one of the biggest 180s I’ve seen and it was to total success. Now, the continuation and culmination of the self splits and the alter reaches its final form to begin anew with unknowable future.

Superstar is a very stable mechanism, yet it’s such an expansion from anything Caroline Rose had made before. You get the sense of odyssey from the opening note as you’re guided through this chronology of sound that scores a rich concept. Everybody is on their shit for this album. The synth niche she’s carved has been mutated to orchestral sizes. Everything had been dramatized, bigger and better. The extravagances are well thought and admirable, there’s the right amount of skill put forth to where it doesn’t come across as kitschy. The bass is very coordinated with the synth and it gives the listener the comfort that they’re listening to a real band and not just some masturbating studio wizard. The vocals have taken to more of the pop iconic sense. She’s put more focus into the singing because the songs call for more power and showcase that matches the mega synth harmonies. The result is streetlight sonatas with forecasts of purple rain.

This fresh batch will give the road show a real pretty face lift, whenever it happens. The cycle allows for the live set to feel congruent and whole. She can balance the songs from the previous album and pseudo-debut Loner, and its new half-sequel Superstar, to create something captivating and valid. She can take this show to great lengths and use it till it’s used out.

I think Superstar should mark the end of this story, and where I would usually worry about what’s next after an artist makes something like this, I don’t with Caroline Rose, because she’s a renaissance woman, and whatever is next will likely continue through the never-ending surprises and inventions she has to offer.

Caroline Rose
[New West]