Chelsea Rose: Truth or Consequences (Paul Is Dead) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Chelsea Rose

Truth or Consequences

Paul Is Dead

Jun 03, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Occasionally, one is utterly mystified by an artist so able to merge the past and present into a sophisticated, yet entirely accessible sound—Chelsea Rose, formerly of indie duo Summer Twins, is one such artist. The beguiling Truth or Consequences, Rose’s solo debut, is bound to thrill any pop devotee, its meticulous composition and raw poetry providing a wholly satisfying aesthetic experience. Rose’s undeniable indie charm and her studious devotion to the swinging sounds of ’60s and ’70s California pop combine to ensure that she avoids the detrimental snares of kitschy irony and novelty cliché—unlike many retro-inspired musical acts before her.

Rose’s sense of earnest fascination lends the meticulous arrangements and sparkling production of Truth or Consequences the warmth needed to render the entire effort an emotional tour de force, the artist’s ability to maintain her own inimitable creative identity while expanding upon the styles of past artists—she at various points echoes The Zombies, Association, Carpenters, and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, among others, while sounding distinct and of her time—placing her far ahead of her contemporaries. In this respect, Truth or Consequences instantly distinguishes itself from the nostalgic hang-ups and heavy-handed attempts at quirky experimentalism often found in modern pop. Even more impressive is Rose’s obvious jazz education, which saturates many of the album’s tracks, providing her compositions a brilliance increasingly rare in modern music and framing Truth or Consequences’ free-flowing neo-psychedelic indie pop extravagance with a certain cool composure, august and refined in all of its power.

Swirling baroque opener “Eyes,” which asserts its complex classicism while breathing fresh life into the lost art of Muzak, finds Rose singing: “You’re like a color that I’ve never seen/You’re a collection of all of my dreams/You make me a poet, you make me a queen/You show me the beauty in everything.” Once more, we return to that fascination, which permeates Truth or Consequences’ most romantic tracks, though Rose spends just as much time documenting the dejection of love gone wrong, the reality of loss as a result of relationships unsustainable, as on colorful neo-psychedelic jam “My Old Friend” and breezy ’60s lounge number “I’m Not the One.”

However, Truth or Consequences is not solely a journey through ancient pop history, as Rose delivers plenty for those youthful listeners who may never have picked up a Ray Conniff or Classics IV record, as demonstrated on the Liz Phair-esque “Down the Street,” among the album’s key tracks, and smooth alt pop escapade “Let Go,” which sees Rose intimately exploring her West Coast indie roots. Likewise, passionately experimental spoken-word number “Fallin’” is an enthralling lyrical narrative, Rose’s account of love and loss in the music scene spanning the country itself, while the twangy millennial dreamscape of “L.A.” finds the artist examining her lonesome world and place within its chaotic flow, as she confesses, “Sometimes I miss the laid-back vibe of Riverside/I know deep down that I wasn’t cut out for the city life.” While her sentiments teeter between doubt and determination, Rose sings one of Truth or Consequences’ crucial lines here: “We came here for more/Now we’ve gotta try/To keep our dreams alive.” “Wishing You the Best,” the album’s closing ghost story, indicates Rose’s desire to push forward while taking a moment to assess the damage done, as she asks: “Though it feels so nice to have someone new to adore/Do you ever feel like you have been here before?” Truly, this may be the album’s finest track, Rose quite literally perfecting her sound as a solo artist.

Truth or Consequences is a quintessential breakup album. It is also a stirring portrait of being 30 years old and lost in a strange city of dreams just out of reach. Chelsea Rose stands easily among her generation’s most remarkable artists, her plainspoken honesty and the complexity of her music pairing well in service of a richly visceral pop experience. Rose’s heartache slices deeply into one’s soul, her pining lyrics cutting to the listener’s very core, rendering Truth or Consequences the next great millennial pop release. This album is simply magnificent. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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