Rhythm & Views

Josh Rouse

Nashville is Josh Rouse's sixth record, and like 1972 and Under the Cold Blue Stars before it, it gleams with sparkling production and myriad pop influences. 2003's 1972 was an homage to that musical era, and the songs captured the nostalgia with Rouse's style and voice--breathy vocals and pop songs centered on vocal melodies that shift key, twist and crescendo, with accents like strings, pedal steel and horns. Not only were 1972 and Under the Cold Blue Stars conceptual musically; they were lyrically as well (Under the Cold Blue Stars was a series of narratives about a family living on a Depression-era farmstead). Unlike its predecessors, Nashville does not reach this level of depth.

The title leads you to believe it will be thematic, and it almost is; there are more country-style accents here, and songs about lost love, which isn't a very original theme. Rouse isn't from Nashville, nor does he live there currently; word on the street is he lives in Spain. He's one of those songwriters that is, in fact, from everywhere, and on Nashville, his music draws from all of his geographic reference points.

There are lyrics as blunt as "You were a New Waver in 1983, I was new on the scene, I just wanted everyone to like me." The talky-familiarity just doesn't fit with the formal excellence of the music--"Streetlights" tiptoes in on plucked violin strings; "Why Won't You Tell Me What" is straight-up blues, rocked out Ray Charles style. But despite the continuing musical lushness Rouse creates, without the lyrical verticality, Nashville has little to isolate it from the standard male solo-singer-songwriter record.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Tucson Weekly

Best of Tucson Weekly

Tucson Weekly