A song like “Adore” comes along once in a great while, chock full of a variety of hooks, compelling guitar riff and uplifting chorus. One can read so many things into the lyric, which is what great pop songs are made of. It’s an extraordinary gem among nine other solid compositions on Stars, Stripes and Milestones from a seasoned professional who takes her music to another level. Stacie Rose has always delivered the goods, but this new disc shows an authority along with the progression. “Picture Perfect” could fit onto the debut of the songstress, 2002’s This Is Mine or even 2005’s Shadow & Splendor, but in this setting it works more effectively.
Evoking the stylings of Francoise Hardy (the yeh yeh girl from Paris), early Nico (on Immediate records), the London releases from Marianne Faithful – that wonderful 60s pop/rock fused with folk that emerged in the psychedelic era and beyond – all engaged and choreographed in modern fashion for this polished “fan-funded” release. “Mine” (from 2002’s This is Mine) got airtime on AMC (American Movie Classics) and “Run Out” on 2008’s Shotgun Daisy featured Shawn Mullins with Stacie Rose, gave the material a wider platform; eleven and five years (respectively) later the carefree air of “Something To Sing About” shows an artist’s pure love of creating melodies and words that have an appeal that crosses genres expanding on her earlier success in a unique and inspiring way. “Earth spins like a top” the singer opens the CD with as new revolutions happen from Egypt to the Far East, the first track, “Speak Your Mind,” exploring topics from Global Warming to everyday conversation.
The cover art to Stars, Stripes and Milestones is a bit of a jolt, not indicative of the thought-provoking ideas told in an easy-going fashion inside the package. You can’t tell a book by its cover, and in this day and age of downloads it may not be as much of a distraction as it would have been in the days of vinyl and cassette. “Missing Peace” is a great double entendre with a Nick Lowe flow to it that lends itself to airplay quite naturally. Lines like “a ghost ripped out my heart” showing up from left field is a cleverness found in (and indicative of) many of the musical essays included on the ten tracks. Rose keeps the listener aware with imagery that shifts along with the chord changes. “Lucky” is a new take on the old adage, count your blessings while “Forever on the Mend” is pensive and reflective. Stars, Stripes and Milestones is a classy combination of awareness, the imparting of knowledge and entertainment, a very pleasurable experience with Rose abandoning previous restrictions and breaking new ground. An artist at the peak of her powers creating a mix that is strikingly original.