Elevate Difference

These Open Roads

When I received Haroula Rose’s album These Open Roads in the mail, I couldn’t help but judge it immediately based on the cover. It’s yellow with 70s fonts and on the back, you’ll see Rose dressed in a hippie-styled shirt, standing amongst a field of tall grass. My immediate assumption was a pretty girl who probably has a pretty voice and nothing beyond that. I had hoped to be wrong after listening to the album. Unfortunately, I was far from it.

These Open Roads, while a very conventional indie-folk album, isn’t without meaning. The album implies notions of self-identity, of finding oneself, and the emotional difficulties one faces when attempting to do so. I found this to be the case with songs such as “Brand New Start,” “New Year’s Day,” and “Love Will Follow.” Other songs like “Another Breakup Ballad” and “Lavender Brown” feature heartbreak and radiate feelings of isolation. Rose wrote all eleven songs in the album (the twelfth track is more of a soft ode without any lyrics) and based on the consistency of her lyrics, I’m guessing she put a lot of effort into inserting common themes throughout the record.

Rose’s songs have a delicate, personal feel to them and the instrumentals are soothing. But while listening to the album, I always felt there was something missing. Something extra that makes her album stand out—perhaps something more intimate or unique in the lyrics.

Rose, a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, certainly has a voice that fits in with the league of modern indie singers. Her voice is reminiscent of a softer, less mature version of KT Tunstall or Judy Collins. It’s a sweet voice that’s not hard on the ears, but it’s nothing that can set her apart from the crowd of other female folkies with guitars that we see singing in small cafes around the city.

Written by: Farhana Uddin, April 24th 2011