Caitlin Rose The Stand-In

[ATO; 2013]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: singer, songwriter, pop, “country”
Others: Linda Ronstadt, Patsy Cline, John Darnielle, Joan Didion, Taylor Swift

01. No one should have to live in their mom’s shadow, even if their mom co-wrote the best pop song of the last decade.

02. No one should have to live in the shadow of their influences, even when they are comprised of my favorite singer-songwriters and writer-writers.

03. So I want to give Caitlin Rose, here, a space of her own, if only because she (not her mom, not John Darnielle, not Joan Didion) wrote what is thus far, if I can quantify my listening, my favorite album of 2013.

04. I guess I can quantify it: 119 plays (iTunes) /12 tracks = roughly 10 listens since I received the promo.

05. I’m just embarrassing myself now, aren’t I? Anyway.

06. I wanted to write a sophisticated piece about the facts of country music: the decline of country life and the rise of country songs, atemporal nostalgia, and symbolic orders — that is, something truly fit for Tiny Mix Tapes, a clever report from the front-lines of the culture wars.

07. I wanted to write about the other night when, driving home, I listened to Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go Round” and thought, “There’s a shift happening in country music, isn’t there?”

08. But, to quote Beckett’s character: “let us be honest at least, it is some considerable time now since I last knew what I was talking about.”

09. What I do know, however, is that (beyond all intellectual posturing) I like Caitlin Rose’s The Stand-In a lot. I like that it’s not so easily classifiable as “country,” but easily classifiable as really great pop music.

10. I like how, on The Stand-In, the variety of pop genres feel less like meandering and more like a series of simple statements of total proficiency.

11. I like, despite my claims of “proficiency,” the songs remain unencumbered by heavy handedness, over-production, and uninspired repetition of the same.

12. I like how it doesn’t even teeter on the edge.

13. I like the way that the appearance of simplicity gives way, in moments, to the depth of expression. I like how it feels like it’s there all along once you start to notice. Finally, I like how good songwriters make innovation (for its own sake) seem totally overrated.

14. I like the lyrical content: how it blends the sardonic and profane with the nostalgic and playful, often in a single song.

15. I like Caitlin Rose’s voice.

16. No, I love Caitlin Rose’s voice.

17. I especially like that I can write all of this about a 25 year old who still has a hundred albums (give or take) ahead of her.

18. What else can I say?

19. Well, if you happen to catch her play live, make sure to bring her some flowers.

Links: Caitlin Rose - ATO

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