Due out March 8th, Rosie Tucker’s sophomore effort Never Not Never Not Never Not is a lyrical wonderland. I found myself constantly rewinding each song, doing my best to capture every single word. Rosie paints a picture of youth culture that is hard to be missed. Fault Lines will take you on an intimate ride into California, comparing love to a burning hillside, and on Iceberg, they write that “every kiss is a skydive…”. Need I say more?
It’s refreshing that the lyrics aren’t cheaply unique. The first single Gay Bar is a dreamy depiction of what it’s like to be in a gay bar. Dancing underneath disco balls beside glittery cowboys? Sign me up. However, pop music listeners may be hoping for something slightly different. As a lyrically focused artist falling into the indie umbrella, I think Rosie’s style could be lost on those simply seeking an earworm track. Gay Bar has a decently catchy hook, but Never Not’s focus goes beyond being catchy.
Obscure references aren’t haphazardly strewn about and the use of cheeky adjectives and phrases feel natural. They confidently escape Rosie’s being and secure the intrigue of those lucky enough to hear them.
Part of Rosie’s draw is that they don’t conform. The songwriting is so rich that you wouldn’t want to sacrifice lyrical integrity simply for a “hit”. However, they could expand their audience if they yielded to a more pop-style approach every now and then. Since their lyricism is quite astute, they could incorporate a widespread pop sound and not suffer from a loss in authenticity. With a storytelling ability reminiscent of a young Sibylle Baier, they clearly have the ability to make a feel good bop. There’s still plenty of time for them to try it too!
The second single Habit showcases their penchant for spoken word. On the first listen, it reminded me of Hobo Johnson. However, Rosie employs spoken word as more of an adornment, avoiding cheesiness by featuring quality lyrics paired with strong delivery. Often times artists utilize spoken word poorly. As a fast lane to intimacy, it can easily fall flat, but Rosie is a poet and it shines through. The second verse in particular is one of the best moments on the album, as they lament their lines through raw emotion. Their words gave me goosebumps.
Across this album, Rosie is taking chances. Whether it’s the last few seconds of Lauren, or the repetition of “our colors bleed” in the outro to Spinster Cycles, they are slowly unveiling their individuality throughout the album. Never Not feels like the work of an artist who is growing and developing, which is arguably the most fun time to be following a musician.
Released by New Professor, Never Not Never Not Never Not ushers in a new, more sophisticated era. On their debut Lowlight, they were a budding singer-songwriter, but now, Rosie Tucker is the full package alt-indie star with a little bit of flair.
You can see them live at SXSW next month.
Key Track: Habit
Score out of 10: 7/10
Stream the singles here!
(Photo Credit: Shabnam Ferdowsi)