This review was originally published at Listen Before You Buy.
Well, Rosie Thomas has done it again, stolen my heart with her simple tales told in hums and harmonies. Her latest album “With Love” was fittingly released on Valentine’s Day this year, and it addresses the issues of love, relationships and heartache that she has become famous for tackling. Thomas manages to write overly sweet love songs that somehow aren’t annoying and to write heartbreaking tunes that always feel real. I have never heard another vocalist who can imbue their voice with tears in the way Thomas does. I know she isn’t actually crying, but on some of these tracks the pain in her voice is so naked I almost feel as though she is. In ‘Really Long Year’ she narrates the ups & downs of her family with a candidness that contains both joyful & heart-wrenching moments.
Rosie describes the intricacies of love with such a clean and clear view, slow burning passion that nevertheless burns white hot. ‘In Time’ exhibits this, as does opening track ‘Where Was I’ which seems to mourn the moments a love we have now had to endure without us. Whether it be roadtrips or wondering about the future, Thomas has always been a seminal female singer songwriter in explicating the modern female dreamer, a quality that I have loved in her since back on debut album “When We Were Small”. The song off of that record, ‘Wedding Day’ (which I also think is, to this day, my favorite break up song ever written), was a favorite of my sister and I for our own roadtrips for ages, and now on this album with ‘2 Birds’ she seems to have written those drives into a new song.
Somehow, it is her appreciation and description of the smallest bits of the world that make this record feel expansive. Emotional and vulnerable, Rosie lets us into her most intimate moments, as in ‘Two Worlds Collide’ which begins with the admission “I cried on my birthday / Was broken to pieces / And everyone noticed / So I made up some reasons”. Her lyrics are too specific to be make-believe and her make-believe is too wonderful to not believe in. If you love dreamy lullabies and childlike innocence in the face of tearful mourning over love lost, pick up this record, I guarantee you won’t put it down lightly.