Best Albums of the 2010s – #15
Love in the Modern Age – Josh Rouse (2018)
Josh Rouse became one of my very favorite artists based on his work in the 2000s, specifically his run of albums between 2002 and 2006 (Under Cold Blue Stars, 1972, Nashville and Subtitulo).
His 2010s didn’t live up to that remarkable stretch, seeing him release a Spanish-language album and a side project before a couple of better-than-decent studio efforts.
Josh Rouse’s third album, 2002’s Under Cold Blue Stars, is a loose concept album about a suburban couple in the 50s, modeled after Rouse’s own parents. The record traces the highs and lows of a lifetime spent together.
This track, ‘Summer Kitchen Ballad,’ comes late in the album and offers an impressionistic look at what I imagine are a handful of days spent in the kitchen watching the summer turn into fall.
Yesterday’s post was running long, so I saved the second part of my Josh Rouse story for today.
Rouse has been married to a Spanish woman named Paz Suay since the mid-2000s. They raised two children while living in Spain for a decade, then relocated to Nashville a couple of years ago. Paz has appeared as a vocalist on several of Rouse’s albums and in 2007 the duo released an EP titled She’s Spanish, I’m American, on which today’s SOTD appears.
Milestone time! Today marks my 4,000th consecutive Song of the Day post, a streak I’ve kept alive for a week shy of 11 years now.
I wanted to post a special song for this occasion, and as luck would have it I had a very special musical experience a mere nine days ago that provided just the track.
My second-favorite album of the year so far belongs to one of my favorite artists, Josh Rouse. His Love in the Modern Age is a synthesizer-drenched homage to 80s bands such as Blue Nile and Prefab Sprout, but it still feels very much like a Josh Rouse record — sad, soulful and melodic as hell.
Rouse is the rare artist who is beloved by every member of my immediate family. He’s a staple on our car trips. My wife likes to point out that every one of his albums has a distinct sound, often a distinct instrument, that sets it apart from all the others.