Caroline Rose: The Art of Forgetting (New West) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 24th, 2024  

Caroline Rose

The Art of Forgetting

New West

Mar 24, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Back in the early days of 2020, Caroline Rose (who uses they/them pronouns) was one of the many artists who tragically found their album releases overshadowed by the pandemic. Superstar was an ambitious turn towards pop pleasures for Rose, one they pulled off to brilliant effect, only for the world at large to collapse around them. That collapse has only continued as the years have gone on, leaving Rose to rebuild from the rubble. Yet, from that wreckage, Rose has crafted their strongest and most resonant record yet with The Art of Forgetting.

Whereas Superstar cast Rose as a boisterous and often unhinged popstar, The Art of Forgetting drops any hits of artifice or tongue-in-cheek satire, sketching a portrait of Rose at their most vulnerable and reflective. In turn, the manic and swaggering rock cuts that colored Superstar and their preceding record, LONER, give way to thoughtful and layered shades of art pop, fused with some soaring arena-worthy highlights.

The record’s opening moments typify this inward shift, as “Love / Lover / Friend” recalls the pristine experimental pop of Perfume Genius, shifting from dreamy fingerpicked intimacy into a mesmerizing mix of modulated vocals and intense cinematic strings. Similarly, later in the tracklist, “The Doldrums” builds off of distorted and chopped samples, eventually locking into an irresistible electronic groove, and “The Kiss” offers a smokey and decadent take on dream pop, finding Rose at their most sensual. Moments like these are enlaced throughout the record, filling the tracklist with a series of entrancing genre experiments and expansive sound collages, and incorporating hints of ambient, lof-fi, and baroque pop deep within the tracklist.

Even with the record’s ambitious sound palette, The Art of Forgetting is also the most exposed and vulnerable Rose has sounded on record. They have described songwriting as their lifeline during the pandemic, and the songs here feel fittingly frayed and vital, as if the very act of exorcising the record’s pains is one of necessity.

At the album’s core, it plays as a tribute to the joys and pain of self-discovery, tracing Rose’s tangled path through their recent years. The record’s lyrics are shaded with heartbreak, unfulfilled longing, and nostalgic dreams, yet also with unexpected triumphs, like “Love Song For Myself” or the rousing closer, “Where Do I Go From Here?” The latter track is the album’s most strident and triumphant, carrying the album to a close with towering drums, massive sing-along melodies, and a final beautifully empathetic mantra—“Come on now babe/Take all this pain/And learn to love yourself again.” (www.carolinerosemusic.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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