Warning: I’m about to go full blown fan-girl on you. Not because I want to. I want to be so much cooler than that. I want to be a respected, objective music reviewer that breaks down albums with an unbiased perspective on very important things like lyrical content and instrumental arrangement. I don’t want to just rave about the stuff I like. But with Rose Ave? I can’t help it. I freaking LOVE this album. Goosebumps type love. Hand-in-my-article-late-to-my-editor-because-I-can’t-get-my-shit-together type love. 5 stars type love.
I never thought I’d give 5 stars. When I took on this gig I started to think about what would constitute a 5 star album for me, so that I would always have a scale for comparison. Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Simon & Garfunkle, The Rolling Stones. How can most modern artists compete with that? Even just in my humble opinion? I still can’t answer that. I’m sure I’ll get some flack for seemingly comparing You + Me to some of the greatest artists of all time, but there is one simple truth I can’t escape – that I cannot fault this album. Pop superstar P!nk, and country folk master City And Colour drop the pseudonyms to be a more organic unit. Alecia Moore and Dallas Green are You + Me, a shockingly perfect, experimental match made in heaven.
I repeat the same process for every review. I listen, I research, I write. During stage one, I have an old school notebook, and often a glass of wine, and I listen to the album start to finish. I write down any and every thought it provokes. The good and bad alike. Sometimes it’s a word. Sometimes it’s a full sentence. Sometimes it’s a memory. I have had Rose Ave. on repeat for days, and I still have no notes. Every time I try to break this record down, I get swept away in the uniquely sensitive sound and the excruciatingly beautiful harmonies that I simply cannot function. Dallas and Alecia’s voices blend so beautifully, and their songwriting styles compliment and influence each other just enough that the record feels utterly different from anything they’ve delivered as individuals. It is not P!ink ft. Green or Green ft P!nk. What they have created with Rose Ave. is as much a place in the middle as it is separate all together. Did I mention I love this album?
So perfect is this album that it is almost impossible to pick a favourite song. The strum of Dallas’ guitar hits us first in Capsized, the opening track of Rose Ave. Dallas’ strong, clear vocal is as powerful as Alecia’s gorgeous scratchy tone as they take off in perfect harmony in a taste of what’s to come. Dallas takes the high melody in contrast to Alecia’s lower register in From A Closet In Norway (Oslo Blues), a nice and unusual surprise for a male-female duet. Unbeliever boasts one of the best vocal arrangements on the record and that is definitely saying something. Their voices barely separate, except for a word or two here and there, and is the perfect demonstration of how these incredible singers blend. Break The Cycle has the most production and the most interesting rhythm. It’s a love song that is full of complication, and a lovely contrast to the tenderness in the track Open Door. Title song You And Me is the true sweet spot for Dallas and Alecia, and a true fusion of two incredible artists. It’s reminiscent of Stevie Knicks or Peter, Paul and Mary while still being absolutely current.
It’s not lost on me that I may be redefining the term “rave review” but I feel You + Me have redefined the term “collaboration”. Alecia says of Dallas that “every single idea is wonderful” and that he has “one of the most beautiful voices that’s ever walked this earth.” Dallas speaks of his awe in watching the ease Alecia worked with and that her performances were “ripping his face off.” The result is astounding. Rose Ave is moody and easy, quiet and loud, different and familiar, all at the same time; a reflection of the balance between two artists that are so different. The entire body of work was recorded in just 8 days, and the imperfect, one-take feel to the production only adds to the overall vibe that this thing was meant the be. So quit listening to me and go listen to them, because You + Me are perfect and I won’t pretend I can do them justice. So. In. Love.