Inside Out by December Rose is a 13 track album that mixes snippets of traditional gospel songs with original tunes. Though the two concepts don’t always come together to form a cohesive LP, it showcases Rose’s talents and her ability to be successful in more than one genre of music.
It all kicks off with “Mamma,” which is not only the first song on the record but also the best. Towing the line between R&B and a pop track, Rose gives a powerful vocal performance, every note full of passion and pain, that bleeds through the extraordinary lyrics that are incredibly visual. While Rose sings about her home not only having cracks but is broken and wonders on the chorus “Mamma why did you have to go?…You never saw us grow” there is also strength in the unlit corners. “This house is not a home. To hell with it,” Rose sings proving that she can move on from her past. It’s a midtempo song that is both dark and empowering all the way through. Rose’s vocal range rivals some of the best in contemporary music today and solidifies her as an artist to keep a watch on.
“Big Mouth” is an uptempo tune that has a bit of a dance feel to it with a more pop vocal performance. It’s sleek and polished with a pop infused chorus that leaves the tune unique as one cannot pin down what genre it solely belongs to. “You can’t get past the spectacles on my face,” Rose sings on the first line eventually leading to the notion that it doesn’t matter what others think, one has to be themselves. “I don’t care what they say cause I’m going to do it my way,” Rose proclaims in a female driven anthem that is full of sass and strength for women everywhere. Rose is clearly proud of who she is and makes no apologies for that, something everyone will benefit from listening to and learning from. In a society where women are often silenced for their opinions and beliefs Rose makes her voice loud and clear and has no intentions to stay quiet. With an uplifting message that couldn’t be more important in these rocky political times Rose serves as a mouthpiece for any woman who has ever felt less than what they are truly worth. And for that Rose makes the biggest statement the record has to offer.
Near the end of the album is Rose’s only true ballad “Best of Me.” It is a piano driven tune that starts off as a love song about finding ones better half, but behind the chorus a different story is being told. “I gave you the best of me and you gave the best of you/but we couldn’t see it was never meant to be,” Rose sings full of raw emotion as the background instrumentals of strings heighten the intensity behind the lyrics. It’s one of the best songs on the album, kind of a reverse of John Legend’s “All of Me.” The song doesn’t go the way one thinks it will when it starts and that surprising turn is what makes this particular track so unique. Sad and beautiful at the same time it is the definition of melancholy. Rose gives one of her best vocal performances here wearing her heart on her sleeve and holding nothing back making it utterly memorable.
As said above the album is sprinkled with traditional gospel samplings such as “Amazing Grace” and “Lord Don’t Move That Mountain.” And while they don’t always gel with the rest of the LP and leave listeners wanting more, it only goes to display the versatility of Rose’s range.
Check out the album and see why Rose is an artist worth paying attention to.