Caroline Rose boasts a quirky kind of persona. Where once she would have been branded as New Wave, now her sound fits firmly in the echelons of modern pop. Her new album Loner suggests she’s not as withdrawn as the title suggest; expressive, outgoing and obviously engaging, she casts a bold persona that’s flush with catchy, spunky songs that beg for commercial acceptance.
Even with its initial entries, Loner indicates Rose’s willingness to get audiences off their backsides and join in as she sings in celebration. First track “More of the Same” is anything but, a bold intro that signals the upbeat enthusiasm that quickly follows. The pulsating tempos of “Cry!” and “Jeannie Becomes a Mom,” along with the frantic pacing of “Money” and the infectious enthusiasm of “Getting to Me” help accelerate that energy, and with it, the sense that Rose is. pardon the pun, in full bloom.
Still, if Loner was a one dimensional record it would likely leave the listener little room to catch a breath. “To Die Today” offers a respite, but its change in tone comes across as ominously as its name implies. Both haunting and harrowing, it lumbers along with a chorus that repeats the refrain “To die today.” Scary stuff indeed. Fortunately, “Soul No. 5,” the song that follows, restores her giddy persona. Part Go Gos, part Blondie, it suggests that her playful posturing ought to find favor with anyone wanting to let loose on the dance floor, or any other environs for that matter. “All you have to do is put on this little bikini and dance,” Rose later insists on “Bikini,” and indeed, if there was any mystery in her mantra, it’s clearly dissipated by now. Granted, Loner hardly qualifies as serious listening. Like much of the music heard today, it’s flighty, fleeting and only a momentary diversion -- ear candy with no lingering aftertaste. However the fact that it’s full of fun makes this guilty pleasure easy to indulge.