Katy Rose
"Rosemary"

Katy Rose put out her first album when she was 17. It had a pretty good single, and it became a minor hit, though it wasn’t enough to keep her album from being a commercial disappointment. As is usually the case in the harsh world of teen pop, her label ditched her when it became clear that the record buying public wasn’t actually looking for a darker, weirder, more authentic version of Avril Lavigne who primarily wrote about mental illness, sex, and drugs. Whereas a lot of people would feel crushed by this scenario, it seems that Rose was liberated by getting derailed from her career track. She self-released her second album [in 2007], and left to her own devices, her music became a strange, somewhat unmarketable mix of slick ’00s teen pop and warped ’90s alt-rock. Aside from a gentle, cautiously romantic tune based upon the chords for “Sweet Jane,” the songs on Candy Eyed feel sick and delirious, and mostly come off like fun-house mirror versions of familiar pop forms. “Rosemary,” the album’s best track, sounds like a 4AD-ized version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” with Rose’s deadened voice floating through layers of guitar fuzz and synthetic noise, propelled by a jagged, violent electronic rhythm. The chorus hits a gorgeous crest, but its beauty is distorted, creepy, and uncomfortable, especially when Rose’s ghostly moans are contrasted with her own girlish whispers. (Originally posted 11/12/2007)

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