Published Mar 03, 2020Caroline Rose's Superstar is a sketch show starring insecurity, unasked questions and the ego we could crash into a storefront and still deny it's ours. "I like to dress up all my fears / Doll 'em up, paint them red … Don't we all like to pretend?" It's a world that 2018's Loner gestured toward, one where desire and anxiety are embodied as characters — who also get to have a little fun.
The album's narrative begins when an unnamed hero takes a wrong number as an omen, and sets out, synths strutting, in search of dreams too big for a carry-on. But their self-made future has the same bounds as their imagination — "I'll get free ice cream and give them to the kids of the neighbourhood" sounds like it was said during a childhood summer — and their own confidence. "Do You Think We'll Last Forever?" sounds like drowsy sex hair, but the lyrics carry the ha-ha vibe of a sincere text that isn't sure if it's allowed to be. Much of the album, in true Rose form, embodies this duality: big-haired, false-lashed synths and flutes, cupping the lyrics as they try to breathe in their too-tight dress.
Rose shines a disco light on shame, lets panic leap into a bouncing gait that's faked-till-it's-made. And though she masterfully wields the absurdity of hubris, she also doesn't ridicule what she finds. She asks the misfits of the human psyche what they want and what scares them, and gives them a whole floor to do their dance. They laugh together, let loose and sweat off their blush. (New West)