When people say they’ve gone on a “life-changing” trip you tend to take it with a grain of salt. For Lucy Rose however, not only did a trip to South America become the inspiration for her third album ‘Something’s Changing’, it also made her form a much closer bond with her fans. During the trip, she not only stayed with her fans but also got them to book her gigs in local venues. The most important thing she discovered though was the connection her fans had with her music.
With those experiences behind her she went into the studio with a renewed sense of purpose. From the very first track you can hear it’s a record crafted with a lot of care and attention. The tender opener Intro is a touching love letter that showcases Rose’s stunning vocal ability and eases the listener into things. It also leads into the much more atmospheric Is This Called Home, which soars with its instrumentation. The song really comes alive during the outro as a string section accentuates the change in time signature.
Overall, there is no major evolution in sound on the album but instead things are just more refined. The indie influence from ‘Work It Out’ is largely gone and replaced with elements of soul and R&B. This change in style really gives her songs room to breathe and is a more natural fit for her style of songwriting. There’s always room, though, for an acoustic ballad, and the stunning Floral Dresses is the centrepiece of the album. It has a poignant message about finding your place in the world as Rose laments during the chorus, “I don’t wanna wear your floral dresses, and my lips won’t be coloured.” It’s topped off with some beautiful harmonies from The Staves, who give the track a real communal spirit.
While there may not be any major changes in sound on the album, in terms of the recording process things were a lot different. It was recorded with her band live and most of the tracks were done in one take. This meant things had to be a lot tighter and you can really hear it on the record. A track like Strangest Of Ways, for instance, has a really solid foundation, but it’s the small touches that really make it groove. The clicks, claps and rim shots in the chorus gives the track its distinctive feel as Rose’s vocal weaves its way around the music. There’s a sophistication here rhythmically that some of the other tracks lack.
Simplicity is a fine line to straddle and sometimes keeping things simple can work against you. The simplicity of a track like Moirai suits the song because of the stripped-back nature of it. The simple arrangement of piano and strings complements the song instead of taking away from it. On the other hand, a track like Soak It Up feels flat in comparison as its simplicity actually works against it. The chorus itself seems more like a pre-chorus, as it sounds like it’s building to something instead of actually being the focal point of the song.
Luckily some of the weaker tracks aren’t detrimental to the album as a whole. It all comes together on the final track, I Can’t Change It All. It’s a stirring tribute to a fan she met in Paraguay, but also a tribute to her fans in general. She sings during the chorus, “I can hear you calling me, I can you from across this open sea.” It’s a bittersweet song that’s amplified by a string arrangement that accents the emotional peaks and troughs. It’s a moment that crystallises who she is as an artist and what’s important to her. On ‘Something’s Changing’, Rose realises just how important music can be and in the process her music has become more important because of it.