English singer-songwriter Lucy Rose is on a mission to prove that the smallest voices can have the biggest impacts. With three albums and a collaboration with hip-hop artist Logic under her belt, Rose is beginning to make a mark on the music industry. March 22, she released her fourth studio album, “No Words Left.” Using her stark, signature sound of an acoustic guitar and vocals, Rose has created an elegant collection of music.
The record opens with “Conversation,” a haunting track that deals with the destructive power of unhealthy relationships. With lines such as “No one loves me quite like you do, but no one lets me down like you do,” Rose makes a striking statement about her own experiences with toxic relationships. The lyrics are layered on top of a combination of strings and an acoustic guitar, giving the song an ethereal sound that seems to ebb and flow as it progresses.
The third spot on the album belongs to the previously released single, “Solo(w).” A plainly arranged piano solo brings in the song, providing a base for Rose’s vocals. The track’s title plays on Rose’s songwriting in the chorus and outro of the song. She sings “Something’s missing / When I am solo, so low, solo, so low,” giving meaning to the extra “w.”
“Solo(w)” is followed by “Treat Me Like A Woman.” The combination of layered vocals and acoustic guitars creates a platform for Rose to make a powerful statement. Using lines such as “And you treat me like a fool / or do you treat me like a woman,” and “Make me feel so small / is this what I’m good for,” Rose discusses the difficulties of being a woman in today’s society. The message is made all the more powerful by the contrast between the hard-hitting lyrics and the delicate sound of the song. “Treat Me Like a Woman” is one more step toward breaking the blatantly false stereotype that women can’t be just as strong as their male counterparts.
Rose once again breaks musical norms with tracks “No Words Left, Pt. 1” and “Just a Moment.” Both lack vocals, serving more as instrumental breaks than actual songs. The two interludes are reminiscent of lullabies, built around a soft, finger-picked guitar. They give an already soft album moments of pause. Out of context, they don’t add much. When one listens to the album straight through, however, the songs add to the pace of the album, keeping “No Words Left” in a sweet spot that fits the tone of the material.
The record’s tenth track, “Pt. 2,” provides an answer to the instrumental “No Words Left, Pt. 1.” The song indicates a change in perspective for Rose. Up until “Pt. 2,” she discusses the difficulties of dealing with unhealthy relationships and the widely held perceptions of women. With “Pt. 2,” Rose claims her independence. The opening line states “This time I’m looking out for me / And I won’t hesitate, you believe it,” proving that she’s living for herself now instead of looking for approval and acceptance from people that don’t matter.
“No Words Left” closes with “Song after Song.” It’s a striking anthem about the enduring struggle of finding confidence. Even as a touring musician with four albums released, Rose still thinks, “I know that I’m telling myself a lie / Oh, a lie / Maybe I’m not as good as the girl I hear next door.” Rose uses her music to discuss uncomfortable and hard-to-swallow topics, and “Song after Song” is no exception.
With “No Words Left,” Rose has continued her habit of using her soft, delicate voice and music to share real messages with her audience. Her voice is a leader in the fight to break long-held stereotypes and deeply ingrained societal norms, and her newest album is an anthem of the cause.
Contact Jake Conley at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture