On March 24, Caroline Rose releases their new album The Art Of Forgetting, an emotive collection of songs detailing a tumultuous personal and professional period between it and the release of 2020’s Superstar. Headliner caught up with Rose for an insightful, in-depth chat about piecing oneself back together through music…
An intriguing juxtaposition exists between Caroline Rose’s new album The Art Of Forgetting and its predecessor Superstar. The former could be described as a concept album of sorts; a tale of a doomed pursuit of pop stardom played out across 11 tracks. From its linear narrative to its shiny production and cover shot of Rose looking like a lifeless plastic doll, it is a meticulously executed piece of work in which each and every element is seamlessly stitched together.
Fast forward three years to The Art Of Forgetting and once again Rose has constructed another record around its central character’s trials and tribulations. Yet what may appear to be a familiar proposition on the surface looks very different underneath.
“They’re both autobiographical,” Rose tells Headliner as we join them over Zoom, sat outside in a friend’s garden on a sunny spring Florida morning. “With Superstar I took a lot of creative license, but that whole time I was still actualising what I was going through. It was more in the way that you make a movie about someone’s life; there’s going to be truth to it but you’re stretching it. With this it’s different because I wasn’t planning on making an album, I was just writing songs about what I was feeling. The arc of the story didn’t really come until later, when I looked back on the year-and-a-half of writing I’d done and was like, this is me piecing myself back together, having really lost myself and any understanding of how to love myself… maybe I never knew how.”
In keeping with the cinematic analogy, if Superstar was a loosely-based-on-true-events tragicomedy, then The Art Of Forgetting is more gritty, unflinching documentary. While previous releases have occasionally employed melodrama and wit to soften their more emotionally charged moments, Rose makes no such attempts to mask or obfuscate the trauma that anchors so many of these songs. There are pockets of humour and hope to be found, but they are less frequent, or perhaps less obvious, than before.
The album’s roots can be traced back almost to the point of Superstar’s release. Having seen plans for that album’s tour almost immediately derailed by the pandemic, Rose was dealt another blow in the form of a harrowing breakup. All of which was compounded by the fact she had to manage this time of personal and professional crisis in isolation.
“I released Superstar on March 6, 2020, and we got about four shows in before the whole thing got its head cut off,” Rose recalls, explaining the origins of The Art Of Forgetting. “It was such a bizarre time. There was a lot of grieving and so many big emotions happening all at once. I was grappling with all the shows being cancelled and I’d worked so hard on this thing to try and get my career off the ground. We were looking at what we all thought was going to be our champagne year, with touring and hopefully a nice relaxing break after that. That happened simultaneously with a break-up that was very difficult for me. And not to mention the collective worldwide grieving and loss of people’s lives and the millions of lives being affected. And then mix in a human rights crisis and you’ve got a fizzy bottle that’s ready to explode.”