From the depths of ethereal indie-folk, The Art of Forgetting sees Caroline Rose is at her own most introspective and her most honest.
The art of evolving artistry comes with the trope as a musician. To stay ever-present in music, artists strive forward with that desire looking for the next and new. With Caroline, it was the desire to let it all out.
“Sometimes you’ve got to express yourself because if you don’t, you’ll explode … and I felt like I was going to explode.”Caroline Rose on The Art of Forgetting
From the very first synth note triggered, The Art of Forgetting is a hazy, hum-drum psychedelic soundscape bolstered with big Björk energy.. and an even bigger grandeur to the type of confessional honesty we’ve not seen present enough in her past work. There’s always time for Rose’s dancing in a bikini satirical storytelling, but this time: Caroline is serious, conveying pen-to-paper themes of regret, grief and the inevitability of pain.
A far-cry from her happy-go-lucky 2020’s Superstar and 2018’s Loner, Caroline is ready with The Art of Forgetting: a biblical telling of contemplation and transformation dripped in raw, intense emotion. After a difficult breakup – dispersed with a series of heartbreaking events – Caroline believed it was high time for a spiritual union of self-connection and growth. For the first time, Rose deep-dove inward to herself, uprooting long-buried memories and laying it out all bare for us to witness.
All the while, Rose was getting voicemails from their grandmother “who was clearly losing her mind.” These respective moments are pieced throughout the album, offering moments of sparkle amidst an otherwise heart-rending story of a person who has forgotten, and is perhaps re-learning, how to love themselves again. “It got me thinking about all the different ways memory shows up throughout our lives,” says Rose. “It can feel like a curse or be wielded as a tool.”
It kicks things off with Love / Lover / Friend, a poignant number earmarked with jangly acoustics as Caroline – with a bitter taste in her mouth – reminds a lost companion that she is not someone to take for granted; and she never will be. Rose swoons and cranes a layer of vocal arrangements alongside a pulsating dream-like synth, as we’re reminded ourselves what we’re getting into with this album.
Trailing a similar path, Rebirth centres around the lack of understanding when it comes to self-compassion, as a cyclical conveyer belt of Caroline Roses are reformed – when really; all she needed to do was be kinder to our old self. A swamp-funk bass-line and an erratic pots-and-pans instrumentation complete the gaps in an otherwise beefy offering.
Miami is a real blossoming of Rose’s songwriting capabilities as a contemplative afterthought to life’s troubled and past dredges up a brooding artist in pain, “Clean up all the memories / Sweep the bad under the rug / Put the good inside a coffer / I wish I knew everything / ‘Cuz even at my best / I don’t know why i even bother.” It is all brought together in a rampant outburst as fuzzy guitars lurch back and forth as she bellows, “There is the art of loving / This is the art of forgetting how!”
Yearning harp and string swells are met with Balkan-influenced yawps and Gregorian autotune choirs, as we’re led through a chopped and glitched instrumentation in lead The Doldrums, a likeness matching that to a faulty memory, as the same question pops up time and time again; if that was me then, then who I am now?
There’s moments in this album to easily get lost in, and The Kiss is that very moment. The heavy synth swarve grips us into an ’80s timelock, as Rose utters an impatient longing for doing anything forThe Kiss – so as to not forget the art of loving altogether, even if just for a fleeting moment. While Tell Me What You Want is a grateful nod to her past beginnings, most notably, I Will Not Be Afraid in 2014, Love Song For Myself re-directs her back on track with the quaint signposting of loss in a trying life, as she undoubtedly tries to love herself again. A feeling not many of us know how to actually do.
The 14-track compendium ends with Where Do I Go From Here? A question maybe posed to the next chapter in the story with it being the final track, but more so a question poised about really moving on and just letting go of the past, instead of trying to stitch a hazy memory – that doesn’t really need to be stitched back together at all. A feeling Caroline begins to understand – there’s something about letting go / That I’ve never understood / I’ve got to face it / Life goes on / The memories live on in this song – before the song splurges into a passionate outcry of beginning to love yourself again, almost as if she is giving herself a pep talk. A resolute ending to an otherwise complete tale of confessional honesty; as it inadvertently keeps us on tender-hooks throughout.
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