To understand Kathryn Rose, the lilting self-titled pop album, it is
essential to understand the Toronto-based singer/songwriter herself.
Thatís because the record, Roseís third solo disc, is unabashed
autobiography. Kathryn Rose navigates the place where art and artist
Kathryn Rose, which the singer correctly describes as a concept album,
poignantly (and chronologically) charts the fall-out from a fractured
relationship, the emotional purgatory that follows, and ultimately, Roseís
renewed faith as she finds a real and lasting love.
Heavy topics yes, but affirming too in Roseís skilled hands. The songs are
delivered with a wink and set against a quietly thrilling musical backdrop
that shifts from sing-songy anthems (Cliff hanger) to rollicking, guitarjuiced
corkers (Yellowknife) to hypnotic, downcast, trip-hop (Low
Flying Bird) to knock-kneed love songs (One Person).
Centerpiece to each composition is Roseís supple voice, an emotive,
elastic instrument, strikingly showcased in songs like the cascading
Fame & Shame, a meditation on celebrity, and the darkly atmospheric
Deepspace Satellite, inspired by Roseís hunt for light amid the
Written as events unfolded over a period of five years and recorded
and mixed in 2004 with producer Thomas Ryder Payne (who similarly
collaborated on Roseís sophomore disc, 2001ís My Little Flame),
Kathryn Rose is about life, and all the messy, funny, depressing, exalting
weirdness lifeís passages entail.
And while the album shadows one womanís experiences, its recurring
themes of loneliness and redemption ring true to anyone wading into the
murky waters of contemporary relationships.
ďThis record is about universal themes,Ē Rose confirms. ďItís about love
and loss and all that classic songwriting stuff. So we called it a concept
album, and we hope people will come along for the ride.Ē
Though Roseís dossier is immense, including stints in various bands, in
theatre, and myriad collaborations with other musicians, fans have come
to know her best through her own songwriting on the before-mentioned
My Little Flame and 1997ís Every Lurid Detail. Kathryn Rose comes
closest yet to capturing Rose as keen social diarist.
~ďIím not worried about it being too confessional because Iíve taken
artistic license with every single story and Iím confident I can continue
to make jokes about the whole subject matter,Ē she says. ďAnd Iím happier
~3rd solo album from one of Torontoís
most beautiful voices and best-kept
~Just finished performing backup for
Sarah McLachlan on world tour
~ďConcept albumĒ about universal
themes of love and loss
~Talent has been compared to Sarah
Harmer, Kate Bush, Sting
The Story of KATHRYN ROSE (In Her Own Words)
The first song sets the scene: a major love relationship has ended. When you meet me here, I am standing stock still on a busy downtown street in the middle of the day, paralyzed by the feelings Iím still carrying around for him. Iím asking you to be my witness while I vow not to be Beholden to him any longer.
Easier said than done. Until I really turn the corner, Iíll continue to make the classic mistake women make in thinking they can change a man. Youíve just caught me red-handed trying and failing to turn a poor unsuspecting candidate into Some Other Kind Of Man, a hybrid of my ex and what I think I really want.
A short time later, I think Iím ready to take what Iíve learned and date again - and three verses later Iíve:
(1) had my head examined for being with the wrong person;
(2) narrowly escaped the quicksand of nostalgia for my ex again; and
(3) agreed to a date with someone who seems mature, soft spoken, self sufficient, sexy... He seems great. Will I mess it up? Will it work out? Itís a Cliffhanger.
The Misadventures In Dating continue: A man Iíve always found attractive who has flirted mercilessly suddenly takes me out and sings my praises. Could this be my lucky day? Is he finally available? Our first kiss is even better than the fantasy. He tells me how amazing I am. Then he tells me thereís someone else... He just met her 2 weeks ago, sheís from out of town but sheís moving here soon, so... The room starts to spin. I go home and write it down. It requires no analysis, itís all there in black and white. A word-for-word quote of his mixed message. My only artistic license: weíll call her Yellowknife.
My world view is starting to suffer. Maybe Iím too quick to blame others when things donít work out. Maybe I need to retrace my steps. I start thinking about the relationships I may have sabotaged over the years in favour of my career, out of pride, or the folly of youth... In my mindís eye I see my ruined attempts at love as a Low Flying Bird that I shot out of the sky, like a hunter who kills for sport.
Enter some truly dark nights of the soul. I indulge in a winter of isolation, a hopeless spring, a joyless summer. Itís not just my love life. People offer lavish attention upon my work and then attach labels that I canít live down. I dream about a flood. Fame and Shame seem to be bedfellows. I stay up night after night looking out the window for a message from a Deepspace Satellite.
Autumn. What year is it? How long was I in the coma? I donít know whatís changed, but I feel like Iím waking up. Weíve now been apart for longer than we were together - and that must mean something. Sheís Coming Around.
Summer again. I go to a very good friendís wedding. A man who was supposed to arrive with the second wave of reception guests has shown up early. Room for him is made at the table across from me. I like the look of him. I talk with him after dinner and like the sound of him. The night ends and time goes by.
The sister of the groom is friends with the man. She decides he and I are a good match. She conspires to bring us together. She calls us both up two months after the wedding and lies to us.
She tells me: He wanted to know if I was single and can he call me? I say yes.
She tells him: I asked her if he was single and would he like to call me? He says yes.
(Take note, Matchmakers: this is a clever technique. Believing your presence was requested by the other gives you a handy false sense of security.)
Like magic he calls. We go on our first date on a Friday afternoon. And eight months later he gets down on his knee in the kitchen at 3 AM and asks me to marry him.
Finally, One Person to be on my side when the world is not, to renew my faith in love. Cause for celebration indeed! The rest, as they say, is the future, in an Infinite Life of Days