Caitlin Rose - CAZIMI Music Album Reviews

Caitlin Rose - CAZIMI Music Album Reviews
The Texas-born Nashvillian previously proved herself a natural translator of honky-tonk’s emotional entanglements; on her long-delayed third record, she makes a complete song cycle out of them.

Nine years ago, Caitlin Rose released her second album, The Stand-In. The title spliced a couple inside jokes from the first record’s tour: The months onstage had her feeling like an impostor; when she felt like herself, she longed for an understudy. But in the album’s wake, a good number of interviewers and critics turned her into a stand-in for country music: If she wasn’t an alternative to Taylor Swift, maybe she was the inheritor of Loretta Lynn or Emmylou Harris. You can see where they were coming from. Rose is a Texas-born Nashvillian—with all the twang that combo implies—and her parents (a label executive and a songwriter who’s won Grammys for writing with, well, Taylor Swift) are Music Row stalwarts. From the outset, she was a natural at depicting the gnarled emotional entanglements of classic honky-tonk—the misspent desire, the loneliness at the heart of the party—but her interiority was more suited to plaintive indie pop. Monologues, not playlets.

CAZIMI, Rose’s long-delayed third record, makes a complete song cycle out of those entanglements, with each cut reflecting the proper amount of neon. Pick a track: someone’s either breaking apart or barely holding it together. If anyone actually gets through the door, they pull the house down behind them. It could make for a heavy listen if Rose treated these situations weightily, but that’s never really been her approach. “Star-crossed and ridin’ on heaven’s horses/I’ve had enough of these cosmic divorces,” she shrugs on “Modern Dancing,” a blithe and, from the sound of it, severely capoed strutter that plays like “Soak Up the Sun” for nihilists. (Or, I guess, like the Magnetic Fields.) On “Holdin’”—Rose’s second or third contribution to the lamentably small canon of country power pop—her narrator alternates grandiose threats with seething retreats, then gets chased by a lovely jangly counterpoint. “Nobody’s Sweetheart” is a chiming concern troll with a crushing descending figure that recalls ’70s AM gold; fragments of its chorus carry into “Lil’ Vesta” (which crosses the sure-stepping pop of Adam Schlesinger with the romantic fatalism of, honest to God, early Toby Keith) and “Blameless” (the real weeper here, with a chorus that carries as much resigned faith as an evangelical worship ballad).

There’s a convergence between how Rose (who co-produced the album with Jordan Lehning) tinkers with genre and the way she turns her characters’ situations over like a snowglobe. It’s fascinating to compare CAZIMI with her 2010 debut, Own Side Now, which she reissued in September. With the exception of the Northern-soul-inflected “Shanghai Cigarettes”—when Rose appeared on Rhett Miller’s podcast last month, he named it one of his all-time top five—Own Side Now hewed closely to folk-pop convention. The observations were sharp, but they were snugly sheathed in the arrangements. Any stylistic deviations tended toward the self-consciously retro: barrelhouse shuffle, pop-soul balladry, po-faced folk ramble.

Now, she’s pulling off things like lead single “Black Obsidian,” which puffs up the glammy dread of prime Suede with a bell-tolling gothic sensibility, while still making time for twangy turnarounds. “Why in the hell do we keep looking back/With the devil always running after us,” she wails, and the band stops on a dime before unfurling their capes. Or “All Right (Baby’s Got a Way),” a twinkling lullaby of condescension that unexpectedly deploys a full-band middle eight—like a landmine constructed from All Things Must Pass vinyl—at the song’s midpoint. “Why don’t you get up off the ground,” Rose taunts, “If it isn’t where you wanna be?” The lullaby continues; the eruption is ignored, for better or worse, like a partner’s outburst.

In astrology, when a planet’s path takes it too near the sun, it’s in combustion. But get a little closer than that, and that’s cazimi: a brief encampment at the sun’s heart. The light and heat amplify, rather than destroy. One of the bonus tracks on the Own Side Now reissue was a newer tune, a resigned breakup ballad called “Only Lies.” It sounds like a Memphis-era Cat Power demo: The snare has a hitch in its step; Rose wanders into a fog of synth strings and easy-listening piano trills. Revisited here and slotted as the closer, it’s completely rebuilt. Rose and Lehning twist the song around a bottle rocket: a full complement of guitars frantically strumming and digging over a four-on-the-floor kick. At this speed, a split feels like a physical law. “And you ask/How could I be so cruel/To leave you in your cryin’,” she spits, then collapses into a shrug: “Well, we’re only lovers/And/They’re only lies.” It’s resigned and callous and empathetic all at once, an auspicious alignment charted by one of our great songwriters, back at last.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Caitlin Rose - CAZIMI Music Album Reviews Caitlin Rose - CAZIMI Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 25, 2022 Rating: 5


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