LA born Mystery Rose-aka Zoe Rose- graces us with her debut album Socially Distant today, October 15th, 2021. The young star has been on the scene for two years, dropping five singles since the ripe age of 16 years old. Rose cultivated the songs on her new album under the tutelage of musician-producer Dan West (d’Animal, LoveyDove, Sidewalk Society) and has been praised for her vulnerability and rawness in her lyrics. Rose shows how dynamic she is from the get-go, her lead single “Stability” is a gut punch of nostalgia and sentimentality followed up by “Lovebirds on the Weekend,” a straight-up rock banger, full of crunchy electric guitar and a screw you attitude. Deployed in torch ballads and pop-punk numbers, her wise-beyond her-years songwriting imbues the 11 songs with beauty.
Although she has obviously grown up with millennial pop stars like Miley Cyrus, Mystery Rose sets herself apart with emo pop-punk twists worthy of Mitski or Soccer Mommy, complemented by Dan West’s spot-on arrangements. Mystery Rose commands the kineticism of youth while realizing there are some lessons people never stop learning. Rose opened up about the new album to Ghettoblaster Magazine, “the album is a reminder of the isolation we all felt during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Many of the songs were written specifically to that theme and recorded from a distance […] ‘Take Me Back’ takes you on a journey of yearning for the past, even though I am only eighteen. […] The album concludes with ‘Just Gonna Walk This Lonely Road.’ This song sums it all up nicely. The song allows us to each surrender to the fact that we were all lonely and ‘the past is the present now.’”
With these songs, she does just that, holding space for nostalgia, anger, and reckoning alike.“ All of the songs have a theme of isolation, loneliness and break ups. However, there is also a feeling of acceptance,” she explains. While under the guidance of musician-producer Dan West, who produced Socially Distant from, a, well, social distance, Rose felt herself emboldened. West had helped Rose realize not only her talent but her desire to make music early on. “I was intrigued with him immediately because he acted more like a student than an adult and always had two fistfuls of coffee,” Rose laughs. Working with West, Rose has been steadily writing and recording. She’s dropped five singles since 2018, and they’ve caught the ears of Indie Alliance DJ’s, including Rodney Bingenheimer, whose “Rodney on the ROQ” show launched a host of legendary artists (Blondie, Joan Jett, Nirvana.)
Mystery Rose’s songs are commanding attention with good reason. On Socially Distant, Rose reaches deeper into her storytelling, releasing a powerful arsenal of timely songs whose themes are evergreen. West’s arrangements support the versatility of Rose’s singing and writing. Throughout, she stays true to her love of live instruments, not including any programmed beats on the album. Rose has a backing band as well and is eager for venues to re-open.
Rose says lead single “Stability” is “about relationships. No matter who breaks things off, it affects your stability and your confidence about moving forward in another relationship. The lyrics revisit the happy parts of a relationship alongside memories of feeling pain—and of causing it. “Chances are you can’t see / you are messing with my stability / eternally,” Rose sings. The verses, built on guitar strums and a softly emotive voice, give way to an up-tempo, drum-driven chorus.
Later, “Picture Perfect” takes listeners on a sweeping journey with dramatic twists and turns of tuneful exuberance that will leave no heartstrings un-tugged. The chorus finds Rose’s voice sounding both ethereal and rich. “It is about seeking that perfect state of balance,” Rose explains. The song shows off her vocal range and ability to pull off high-production ballads, all while eloquently capturing a moment.
While the songs on Socially Distant run the sonic gamut, they’re clearly written by the same deft hand, felt by the same bruised heart, and sung by a voice that has a lot more to say.