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Esther Rose - My Favorite Mistakes Music Album Reviews

On this covers EP, the country singer digs into the roots in some of her favorite dark love songs, from Sheryl Crow to Nick Lowe to Hank Williams.

During a month-long tour opening for Nick Lowe, country singer Esther Rose spent each night enraptured by his ambling 2019 deep cut “Blue on Blue.” Her breakout album from last year, You Made It This Far, originated from feelings of lovesickness and loneliness similar to those in his song, and realizing such inspired her to reimagine the track. Soon after, Rose recorded My Favorite Mistakes, a four-track EP featuring covers of Lowe, Sheryl Crow, Hank Williams, and Roy Orbison. Through these covers, Rose refines her identity, turning the comfort of other artists’ dark admissions into a map where she can find her own space.
On her previous two albums, Rose turned heads with her poignant specificities and nonchalant candor. The songs on My Favorite Mistakes fit naturally in her repertoire, perhaps because these downer anthems were already embedded in Rose the way our favorite songs eventually merge with our DNA. There’s a hint of a smirk to her wispy drawl in “Blue on Blue,” implying that this is a tale of heartbreak as old as time. That’s the thing about dark love songs: “You can sing your guts out and be as creepy and sad as you want,” Rose told Talkhouse, “and then after three minutes, you’re done and you’re OK.”
The EP opens with a deceivingly sunny ray of lap steel and fiddle on “My Favorite Mistake.” While contemporary indie rock artists are turning Sheryl Crow into a belated pop totem, Rose is reaffirming her status as a country luminary. By removing the blues-rock production of the original version and digging up its folk roots instead, she shifts the focus from a cheating partner to the larger question of how to maintain self-worth after treachery.

For someone who grew up in punk rock, Rose is at her most powerful when mimicking country greats. On “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You),” she captures the spirit of Williams in a faithful duet with Lee Walker. She launches into Orbison’s “Blue Bayou” armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar, the barren nature of which makes each whisper-sung octave hit hard. Rose wasn’t exaggerating when she called herself a “reckless optimist.” That’s the unique appeal of My Favorite Mistakes: these are songs for a sore heart, and Rose leans into the sting, but only so her croons can act like a warm compress to soothe the pain.



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