The rebellious nature of a precocious 16-year-old is apparent on the cover and in the title of Katy Rose’s debut disc, as she pulls at her hair with fingers clenched and emits a disconcerting scowl that makes her declaration of Because I Can feel all too real. It seems Rose has done some living in her short life, and she is more than ready to use her musical gifts as a cathartic outlet. Approaching her music with the swagger of a young Liz Phair, Rose delivers a set of pop/rockers that are lyrically convincing, musically sound, and a step above most anything by Avril Lavigne, someone she will inevitably be compared to in age and attitude. But unlike Lavigne, Rose embraces who and where she is in life — there is no pretense. She is a teenager who has a lot on her mind, with a life that seems to be passing by at lightning speed. “I Like” demonstrates this point, as the simplistic opening line of “I wanna live before I die” has her contemplating the pitfalls and possible rewards of commitment, all the while singing a chorus of “la la las” that celebrate her teen spirit. Although her lyrics are never too deep and even include some sophomoric expletives, she rarely crosses over into high-school notebook confessionals. And while she is grousing about life, love, and relationships, it is interesting to note that her writing partner and producer is her own father, Kim Bullard (a noted keyboardist and member of Poco). Working through her lyrical angst with her father may have been a smart move, as it seems to have stabilized both her and the project. However, for all that they have done right, it is unfortunate that the production style is so hooked into the angry teen girl sound of the moment that it makes an interesting song like the single “Overdrive” sound banal. Carrying the tunes is Rose’s voice, which is not necessarily unique either, but she is a capable vocalist and can sound pretty on ballads like “Snowflakes” or intense, as on the rockin’ “Vacation.” Throughout Because I Can, Rose writes and sings like a young rebellious teen, which is just fine because that is who she is. She doesn’t hide it, apologize for it, or try to come off as anything more. Hopefully, she will always stay true to herself, and as Katy Rose matures and grows, her music will continue to blossom as well. – Aaron Lathammore »
Because I Can
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