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Josh Rouse

Josh Rouse Album Reviews

Nebraskan born singer-songwriter Josh Rouse grew up inspired by British bands like The Smiths and The Cure, and his music reflects both the homespun feeling of the American Midwest and the introverted yet poppy sound of the bands that influenced him. He also has a predilection for 1970’s soft rock, most explicitly on 2003’s excellent genre exercise album 1972. His observational songwriting and gentle voice are sometimes reminiscent of Paul Simon’s 1970’s work, while his penchant for 10 track, 40 minute albums also makes him feel like a throwback.

There’s lots to like about Rouse’s work, but I’m not sure that he’ll be remembered as a major artist. Rouse’s thoughtful songs are in the wrong era to find a mass audience, while his fondness for pop hooks and straightforward sensibilities don’t win him friends at Pitchfork. So Rouse is stuck in musical limbo, too clever for the mainstream but too white bread for hipsters, and he’s limited to fans of heartfelt, catchy song writing.

Josh Rouse started his career with the worthy but dour 1998 album Dressed Up Like Nebraska, and over the next few years became more confident and more musically expansive, building up to 1972 and 2005’s Nashville, which arguably stand as his two best records. 2006’s Subtítulo marks the start of a second phase in his career; Rouse relocated to Spain, and his subsequent releases often feel more light-hearted and less substantial, as well as often featuring a more Spanish flavour. I’m less familiar with Rouse’s later work, but overall it does feel less consistent than his initial run of albums.

Ten Favourite Josh Rouse Songs

Come Back (Light Therapy)
Sad Eyes
Christmas With Jesus
Parts and Accessories
Marvin Gaye
Winter in the Hamptons
My Love Has Gone
Under Cold Blue Stars
It Feels Like Love
Flair

 

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Dressed Up Like Nebraska – Josh Rouse

Dressed Up Like Nebraska (1998), 7/10 Josh Rouse’s 1998 debut album features a low key indie-folk sound; Rouse began the … Continue Reading Dressed Up Like Nebraska – Josh Rouse

Chester – Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner

Chester (1999), 7/10 The Chester EP pairs Rouse with Lambchop leader Kurt Wagner. Wagner contributes the lyrics, while Rouse writes the … Continue Reading Chester – Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner

Home – Josh Rouse

Home (2000), 7.5/10 Home is a step forward in confidence for Rouse; after the often dark and stifling Dressed Up Like … Continue Reading Home – Josh Rouse

Under Cold Blue Stars – Josh Rouse

Under Cold Blue Stars (2002), 8/10 A concept album concerning the romance and dissipation of a small-town couple in 1950’s … Continue Reading Under Cold Blue Stars – Josh Rouse

1972 – Josh Rouse

1972 (2003), 8.5/10 Rouse uses the sonic textures of the year of his birth as the basis for 1972. Specifically, … Continue Reading 1972 – Josh Rouse

Nashville – Josh Rouse

Nashville (2005), 9/10 Nashville largely mines the same soft-rock territory that 1972 did, and the country elements that the title … Continue Reading Nashville – Josh Rouse

Subtítulo – Josh Rouse

Subtítulo (2006), 7.5/10 Subtítulo reflects Rouse’s shift to Spain; following his artist girlfriend Paz Suay to Valencia on the Mediterranean coast. Musically, Rouse … Continue Reading Subtítulo – Josh Rouse

She’s Spanish, I’m American (EP) – Josh Rouse and Paz Suay

She’s Spanish, I’m American (EP) (2007), 7/10 She’s Spanish, I’m American was released while my wife and were dating, and … Continue Reading She’s Spanish, I’m American (EP) – Josh Rouse and Paz Suay

Country Mouse, City House – Josh Rouse

Country Mouse, City House (2007), 5.5/10 Josh Rouse wrote nine songs for Country Mouse, City House, and by my count only … Continue Reading Country Mouse, City House – Josh Rouse

El Turista – Josh Rouse

El Turista (2010), not yet rated I haven’t lived with El Turista long enough to rate it yet; it’s pretty … Continue Reading El Turista – Josh Rouse

Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations – Josh Rouse

Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations (2011), not yet rated I didn’t realise this was a full album until I … Continue Reading Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations – Josh Rouse

The Happiness Waltz -Josh Rouse

The Happiness Waltz (2013), not yet rated I like this album so far – feels like his best for quite … Continue Reading The Happiness Waltz -Josh Rouse

The Embers of Time – Josh Rouse

The Embers of Time (2015), not yet rated

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