Song of the Day #4,500: ‘Rise’ – Josh Rouse

I discovered Josh Rouse after the release of his 2005 album Nashville, a record I count among one of my all-time top ten. I quickly gobbled up his previous four albums, all great, and especially loved 1972.

Titled after Rouse’s birth year (and mine), 1972 blends sounds and styles of the 70s with Rouse’s alt-pop sensibility, dabbling in a little Carole King here, a little Marvin Gaye there. Though it’s a concept album in the strictest sense, it doesn’t feel fussed over. He’s too good a songwriter for it to feel anything but authentic.

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Song of the Day #3,376: ‘James’ – Josh Rouse

Nice work by the Random iTunes Fairy this weekend, serving up two of my favorite singer-songwriters with Ben Folds yesterday and Josh Rouse today.

‘James’ is a track from Rouse’s 2003 album 1972, one of his best efforts. Inspired by the sound and style of the decade it’s named after, 1972 is a sharp and satisfying listen and ‘James’ is one of its best songs.

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Song of the Day #668: ‘Comeback (Light Therapy)’ – Josh Rouse

Here’s a wonderful song from Josh Rouse’s 1972 album, which is chock full of wonderful songs.

This album is an example of an artist firing on all creative cylinders, with songwriting, performance and production all top-notch. I imagine that when he recorded 1972 Rouse was in the sort of zone star athletes get into during a big game, when everything they try works out just right.

Or maybe that’s not how it works at all. Maybe this album was the result of weeks of trial and error, takes and retakes, and input from scores of people and it all somehow managed to come out brilliantly in the end.

In either case, I’m impressed.

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Song of the Day #585: ‘Flight Attendant’ – Josh Rouse

A year after Under Cold Blue Stars, in 2003, Josh Rouse released another semi-concept album, 1972. The album was named after the year Rouse was born (and the year I was born, incidentally) and the music and packaging were designed to evoke that era.

1972 is a definite candidate for Rouse’s best album. It’s certainly his most fun and musically adventurous… he packs strings, horns, flutes and eclectic percussion into every song and gives his falsetto a workout on tracks both sensual and surreal. He even finds room for a mournful acoustic track that makes the best use of gospel backup singers this side of Lyle Lovett.

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