A True “Superstar”

Cade Stone, Staff Writer

From country and folk to pop music, Caroline Rose quite literally has a song for everyone. Caroline Rose’s parents were both artists in Long Island, New York, where she was born and raised. In 2011 she graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. She didn’t really use her education because a year later she was doing what she really wanted to do: sing and make music. In 2012 she and her friend Jer Coons, who is a multi-instrumentalist producer, started a Kickstarter to make her first album a dream come true. The goal was $8,000, but they raised $10,115. The first album was called “America Religious” and was more of a country/folk record. Two years later, Rose released the album “I Will Not Be Afraid,” produced by Jer Coons again. This was her first national album, and it did really well, especially compared to her first album. After that she released “Loner” in 2018. This album was produced by Paul Butler and was a dramatic change from folk music to more of a indie pop style with 70s influences, witty lyrics, and lots of synthesizers. The album was met with good reviews, getting a 7.6 from Pitchfork. Reviewer Calum Marsh called it “a singular artistic statement, from it’s unforgettable album art all the way down. It represents her for a major change–a change she totally commands.” Rose played all the instruments on the album, but for touring purposes she formed a band. On January 7th, 2020, the song “Feel The Way I Want” was released, and she announced a new album that would come soon after. The song was amazing to me; the way she sang and the music was was of a piece with her last album but also felt like she was turning a new leaf. A few months later, on March 6th, 2020, the Heritage High Journalism staff’s official album of the year was released.

“Suddenly I hear the phone ring / I knew it was my destiny.” That’s the first line for the whole album. “Nothing’s Impossible” is the first track, and it sets the tone perfectly. It tells a story, not only lyrically but instrumentally as well. It shows that if you have a dream, follow it, and be passionate about it. The whole song has a 70’s pop feel but smoother. The use of the synthesizer makes for a truly unique sound. It is a truly good opening track. In the last minute of the song, it sounds as if the instruments are being drained, and smooth jazz starts to play, bleeding into the next song.

Got To Go My Own Way” is the next song, and it perfectly encapsulates the feeling of pushing everything aside and only going for one thing: a goal or maybe just something that makes you happy. This song has such a good rhythm, almost dreamy in the beginning then boom, a small beat drop makes it sound like a whole band walked in and started playing. The uplifting rhythm and beat makes you feel like you can accomplish anything. “About to start a new life / got to go my own way,” Rose sings. This lyric speaks to me, as if to become what we call a star, you have to move to L.A. and start a whole new life. If your dream is to really become a star then you will do anything to become one. 

My personal favorite song on the album is “Do You Think We’ll Last Forever.” It begins with a fifties style guitar rift intro then suddenly a bass and guitar join in. This goes together so well. The whole song is obviously about wanting to be with someone forever, but does that other person think that too? When the chorus starts . . . man, it makes you wanna get up and dance. (As I am writing this, I’m dancing while listening.) “I’m feeling okay / You just make my heart race” is one of my favorite lines, as it’s super relatable for a love at first sight, crush, or even a long-term relationship. Now, this hasn’t even scratched the best part of the song, when it’s just a guitar and vocals from Caroline that jump into a dreamy, wavey effect. Every time I hear it I stop what I’m doing and listen; I dance and move to the beat, as this is the best song on the album. 

“Feelings Are A Thing Of The Past” is a short but effective connector to arguably the second best song on the album, “Feel the Way I Want.” The whole music video was shot on an iPhone, following Rose as she travels to various locations and dances. She went all over the country to film this with a friend, traveling from Hollywood, CA to Hollywood, FL.  Rose sings about how she’s re-discovering herself to become a star. How everyone is one way but “Baby watch me freak out! Feel the way I want to feel.” basically showing how the person she is singing about doesn’t want to be some pretty face in a crowd but their own person. Rose is definitely not like any other artist you have heard. The whole song feels like a massive flex on those who doubted her and her career. It’s kind  of a rebellious song as well, showing she doesn’t have to be like everyone else in the music business.

 “Someone New” opens with a spectacular guitar rift, talking about the mornings that this person goes through, brushing their teeth, and how hard it is living after a break-up. It talks about how their ex has found someone new who is just them and how they need to become someone new, someone better. It keeps with the theme of making it big in Hollywood, as celebrities break up and then go off the deep end trying to become a new person. The lyrics are definitely the strong suit of this song, as the instruments keep the flow and beat but stay the same throughout the song.

“Now that it’s so easy / I’m back at the beginning.” As soon as “Back At The Beginning” starts, it feels like a 90’s hip hop song that turns into something like a power ballad. The beat and guitar are amazing. It talks about how the person is back at the beginning, waiting at tables and wanting more than they have. How they still need to get money to try and get to the top. How it’s a conflict between them wanting to have a normal life and how easy and simple it was, but they also want to be famous and have all the power. You can tell the conflict is eating them alive. 

The last song is a slow and sad song about a trip. “I Took A Ride” creates a strange contrast between the rest of the songs. It’s oddly sad in the beginning, bleeding into an electric piano building into a futuristic sounding melody. Rose sings about taking a ride on life, about heart breaks and pain, but also about how they won’t rest until they find their “true love.”  The speaker knows that they exist and that they’re out there, so they will take a ride on anything to find that love. This is a perfect wrap up to the story as it shows how fame and fortune can’t match the love of a significant other. It ends with an 80’s synth sound, almost a “Stranger Things” vibe, with a few keyboard notes drawing to silence as it ends.

I have only discussed the first five songs and a few from the end, and those were really good, probably some of the best, but the album tells a story with the same underlying theme of someone wanting to become a star, a “superstar”: someone who wants to go their own way and feel how they want. They want to take over the music industry their way. If you want to feel empowered and feel like you’re on top of the world, listen to this album. You will not be disappointed in the slightest.