|Josh Rouse — Love In The Modern Age (April 13, 2018)|
Josh Rouse — Love In The Modern Age (April 13, 2018) Editorial Reviews
→→ Život a doba Joshe Rouse. Měl by existovat zákon, který říká, že pokud úspěšně uděláte 20~ti letou kariéru skládání, psaní, nahrávání a vydávání přemýšlivých a chytlavých folkových populárních písní na akustickou kytaru, budete povinně muset nahrát a vydat album písní napsaných většinou pomocí syntezátorů. A to právě připravuje americká a španělská vláda. Ne, to byl JOKE. Ovšem album LOVE IN MODERN AGE, to je JOKER. Triumf! For Love in the Modern Age, Josh Rouse focuses on the slick, polished sounds of 1980s adult oriented pop/rock. Specific touchstone albums he references as inspiration are the debut albums from The Blue Nile and The Style Council, and Roxy Music s, Avalon. The album is loaded with synth sounds of the era, flourishes of saxophone and female vocal harmonies that reflect the polished, suit and tie, modern pop sounds of the 80s. Standout tracks on the album include the title track, “Women and the Wind,” “I’m Your Man,” and “Businessman.” While the sounds on the Josh Rouse produced album hark back to the early 1980s, the songs are pure Rouse — soothing hooks and deceptively intricate arrangements that feel familiar and effortless.Born: March 9, 1972, Oshkosh, Nebraska, United States
Location: Valencia, Spain
Album release: April 13, 2018
Record Label: Yep Roc Records
01. Salton Sea
02. Ordinary People, Ordinary Lives
03. Love in the Modern Age
05. Women and the Wind
06. Tropic Moon
07. I’m Your Man
08. Hugs and Kisses
09. There Was a Time
By Ben Salmon | April 12, 2018 | 10:22am | Score: 7.1
→→ There ought to be a law that says if you successfully make a 20~year career out of writing, recording and releasing thoughtful and catchy folk~pop songs on the acoustic guitar, you should be required to record and release an album of songs written using mostly synthesizers.
→→ That seems to be the basic idea behind veteran singer~songwriter Josh Rouse’s new album Love in the Modern Age. It’s not perfect. It’s not really revelatory. But the guy realized after two decades of making solid folk~pop albums that he ought to put the guitar down for a bit and try something new.
→→ Rouse cites The Smiths and The Cure and The Blue Nile as influences, and you can hear little bits of each throughout Love in the Modern Age: in the airless echo of opening track “Salton Sea,” the glassy keyboards of “Ordinary People, Ordinary Lives” and the variegated synths of “Tropic Moon.” Most of Rouse’s ‘80s excursions are both tasteful and appropriate for his voice and style. He only reaches too far on “Businessman,” a jet~setting fantasy that feels more like pastiche than Rouse burrowing his way into a particular aesthetic.
→→ By contrast, the album ends with a string of songs that convincingly marry Rouse’s six~stringed roots with his new plugged~in toys. On “Tropic Moon,” he threads an easygoing earworm melody around the aforementioned synths, before adding a warm acoustic guitar and a beautiful bridge into the mix. The result is intoxicating in an un~bummed~out Beck’s Sea Change sort of way.
→→ Similarly, “I’m Your Man” pairs a simple guitar chord progression with lush backing vocals and glowing keyboard tones and ends up feeling very Wilco~ish. “Hugs and Kisses” overcomes a slightly awkward vocal melody with some chill vibes and video~game bloops. And closing track “There Was A Time” is probably the most traditionally Rouse~ian song on the album, even with Rouse channelling Leonard Cohen’s raspy baritone.
→→ That baritone also surfaces in Love in the Modern Age’s title track, where Rouse brings this whole project together under one roof. Processed piano, pulsating synths, mechanized vocals, buzzy bass lines and even a heartfelt saxophone solo swirl around him as he sings:
→→ Tell me, is it all just in vain? I know I’ve changed in the modern age.
→→ Change is good, but it’s not easy. Kudos to Josh Rouse for recognizing the need. →→ But it should be noted that Love in the Modern Age wouldn’t work if it were all synths and no songs. Not to worry; Rouse has the songs. His knack for setting a simple feeling to a breezy melody shines through again and again.
→ “Like a baseball player who quietly hits 30 home runs every year or a golfer who regularly finishes in the Top Ten, Josh Rouse’s continued streak of excellence is easy to ignore and maybe even downplay a little” — Tim Sendra, Allmusic.com
→ You don’t have to work hard to enjoy Rouse’s music. His songs present themselves to you with an open heart, an innate intelligence and an absolute lack of pretension. They are clear~eyed, empathetic and penetrating. Without pandering, they seek to satisfy both your ear and your understanding. The verses draw you in with telling detail, both musical and thematic, and the choruses lift and deliver. They resolve without seeming overly tidy or pat.
→ Josh Rouse was born in Nebraska, and following an itinerant upbringing he eventually landed in Nashville where he recorded his debut Dressed Like Nebraska (1998). The album’s acclaim led to tours with Aimee Mann, Mark Etzel and the late Vic Chestnut. The followup~ Home (2000) — yielded the song “Directions” which Cameron Crowe used in his film Vanilla Sky.
→ “Every time I’ve made a record, I’ve tried to make it different from the last one,” says Rouse. “I always became fascinated by a different style of music. But at the end of the day, no matter how eclectic I try to make it, it’s my voice and melodic sensibility that tie things together.”
→ For his breakthrough album, 1972 (2003), which happens to be the year he was born, Rouse decided to cheer up a bit. Noting that he’d earned a reputation for melancholy, he says, with a laugh, “I figured this is my career, I might as well try to enjoy it.” While the Seventies are often identified with singer~songwriters, Rouse was primarily attracted to the warmer sound of albums back then, as well as the more communal feel of the soul music of that time. The follow up, Nashville (2005) continued the hot streak and expanded his audience further.
→ After relocating to Valencia, Spain with his wife Paz, Rouse has released a steady stream of high quality songs and albums. Subtítulo (2006) contained the international indie folk hit “Quiet Town”. On El Turista (2010) he even experimented with writing and singing some songs in Spanish. In 2014, he won a Goya Award (the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar) for best song for “Do You Really Want To Be In Love,” from the film ‘La Gran Familia Española.’
→ His most recent release, The Embers of Time, was one of his strongest — self~described as “my surreal, ex~pat, therapy record.” Charles Pitter astutely noted in Pop Matters. “The critics may long for drama and scandal, but The Embers of Time often demonstrates that a simple life could be for the best.”
→ Dressed Up Like Nebraska (1998)
→ Home (2000)
→ Under Cold Blue Stars (2002)
→ 1972 (2003)
→ Nashville (2005)
→ Subtítulo (2006)
→ Country Mouse City House (2007)
→ El Turista (2010)
→ Josh Rouse and The Long Vacations (2011)
→ The Happiness Waltz (2013)
→ The Embers of Time (2015)
→ Love in the Modern Age (2018)
EPs and mini~albums:
→ Chester with Kurt Wagner (1999)
→ Bedroom Classics, Vol. 1 (2001)
→ Bedroom Classics, Vol. 2 (2005)
→ She’s Spanish, I’m American with Paz Suay (2007)
→ Bedroom Classics, Vol. 3 (2008)
|Josh Rouse — Love In The Modern Age (April 13, 2018)|