Baby Rose – To Myself
Mode of Cool
Baby Rose [Rose Wilson] is a 25 year old singer-songwriter with the time-burred vocal of someone steeped in many more years of experience. Whilst pleasingly generic in terms of its soul/R&B songwriting, along with overlaying and other effects – like the malleable/bending piano chords and percussive beats to Artifacts – it is the voice that establishes the enduring quality of this debut.
Opener Sold Out starts with a car-starting-and-moving-off sample when Rose’s jazz-soul vocal then fills the vacated space with resonant, warbling vocal depths, these adorned with other harmonies and soothing grooved instrumentation; next Borderline is a punchier but again smoothed-out affair, the vocal ‘accent’ that slight affectation [a la Amy Winehouse] I find unsettles these ears, but for many it is obviously a requisite style. That Rose’s singing rises above everything in its impressive presence is the great capture of this album, All to Myself a passionate and breathy lament; penultimate Over a hypnotic swathe of matured vocal mastery, and closer Show You a light orchestral number in the Burt Bacharach mode of cool.
Being one of my most listened-to albums of the year exemplifies how any ‘unsettled’ initial response has been overtaken by the abiding groove, soul and vocal warmth/depth of its revisiting.