Exploding from Nashville, Tennessee, 23-year-old Caitlin Rose is sure to give country dames such as Cline and Parton a run for their money as she becomes a representative for our generation. The talent is clearly here. With a very strong voice, a close connection with her country roots and lyrics exemplifying maturity; it is obvious why labels were quick to snap her up. However, whilst the talent is there, it is not exactly put to the test on her debut LP.
The problem with this 'Own Side Now' is that all the songs tend to be quite samey. There is not much variety and Caitlin denies diverging too far from country conventions. Learnin To Ride, the opening track is undoubtedly a great track but at the same time it is also very clichÃ© and becomes quite monotonous by the end. It is ironic that she states in New York City, that it is a place 'to let go', considering she doesn't really do this at all throughout her album. One may argue Rose is simply celebrating her country roots but there is a difference between recognition and glorification.
Other tracks on the LP such as Own Side and Shanghai Cigarettes reveal the clever songwriter behind these tracks with use of extended metaphors and wisdom in themes explored. They suggest how there can be an effectiveness in simplicity but whether 'simplicity' makes great music is another thing altogether. Things Change, as the title ironically suggests, is actually a standout track from the album as we see signs here of experimentation. Severe moments of quietness and a very exposed backing shows a glimpse of what this country singer is capable of, in terms of going to limits with her music. It's a shame however that it has taken seven tracks to get there though. The final two tracks Sinful Wishing Well and Coming Up are both slow-paced tracks that are a gentle journey into the world of folk. They are able to highlight the strength of Caitlin's voice, but anything beyond that fails. Again, sounding very conventional and quite out-dated, there is nothing that really can appeal to a younger generation. Ironically, Caitlin says in Coming Up 'You keep coming up with new ways to let me down'; surely we feel the same way too.
This LP is a major struggle. There is something frustrating about seeing the talent an artist has and the poor result that can be achieved. Maybe her next LP will show signs of growth and divergence, but at the moment, Caitlin Rose is sadly just a collection of clichÃ©s and conventions.