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.
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.
In this week’s Childish Gambino post, a commenter brought up the dilemma of having an under-appreciated favorite artist hit it big. You’re happy for his or her success, but you kind of liked being in on a secret.
I have two such favorite artists, both of whom I’ve adored for a decade and a half. And as much as I enjoy belonging to their exclusive fan bases, I have to say I’m ready for the world to give them the attention they deserve. One is Tift Merritt; the other is Josh Rouse.