It’s hard to capture a listener’s album across a whole album from someone identifying as a singer/songwriter — you can’t repeat too many motifs, have to differentiate each track from the next. It’s even harder to do it with so few lyrics at hand, like on Rozi Plain’s new album, PRIZE. At some points slip and blend together, but the result is an art pop collection that uses liminal space and electronic production to its every detail.
This is not an accessible album, lyrically — she remains lurid and vague throughout. It pays off well in few spots, the dichotomy of a relationship sticking through to it on the end on “Painted The Room”, where she sings, “You’re so well, you’re so sick / Meet me for the rest of it,” or on “Conversation”, when she asks, “What is it if it’s not? / Is it love when it stops?” On the existential and funny “Sore”, she even jabs, “This existed before you / What — Are you sore?” But on places like “Complicated”, where the lyrics match the title, she sings, “Of course it’s complicated / You hate it / It needed eating so you hate it.”
Each song is novel in the way it likes to stretch and expand — they adopt a strategy where technology hums and swirls at the end, so that the bridge is unique — something alt-pop artists like Mitski and St. Vincent are fans of as well. This idea fits well on songs like “Spot Thirteen”, “Painted The Room”, and “Standing Up”, where the song is given extra space to breathe after lyrical portions are over. The most accessible track, a duet with Alabaster Deplume, starts the album — a delightful little ballad about romantic stillness with harmonious Hmmms filling the silence. “If nothing will do / It’s nothing we’ll do / But nothing makes me hungry,” she sings.
With such vague lyrics, you can prescribe any number of meanings to each line, visions of romance or heartbreak swarming. While each track might not always connect with a certain feeling, each uses space and texture in 10 different ways.
order Prize by Rozi Plain HERE
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