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Only With Laughter Can You Win

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Album Review

Rosie Thomas' sophomore album further explores the singer/songwriter's relationships with family, love, self, and her spirituality. Her sweetly childlike voice understates her weighty topics, giving a warm balance to the recordings, and her sunny melodies guide the songs to both logical conclusions and lingering questions. Gentle acoustic guitars and atmospheric instrumentation (including xylophones, pianos, and breathy electric guitar lines) support her multi-tracked vocals unobtrusively, allowing her gentle melismata to roll around the words, keeping her message free from misinterpretation. The positively victorious "You and Me" stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the songs, and while the music stays subdued and somber, her voice raises above its gentle whisper to a nearly testifyin' shout, illustrating her conviction to either her love or her faith (or both). On the album's highlight, "I Play Music," Thomas explains quite frankly to her audience, "I play music, that's what I do/And when I sing I lose myself/There's nothing more I'd rather do/Lord knows I've tried everything else." While this lyric is not groundbreaking or necessarily poetic, the pure naked force of her honesty shines through like a child's first question or a lover's drifting sleep talk.

Biography

Born: Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Singer/songwriter Rosie Thomas has been shaping her sweet, delicate song stylings since her early childhood, but she made a name for herself when she joined Motor City dream pop band Velour 100. Thomas sang and toured with the band during the late '90s before jumping ship for a solo career. Mixing up the folk-pop of Joni Mitchell with indie sensibilities, Thomas found herself surrounded by a new scene. She and Damien Jurado dueted on "Wages of Sin" for Sub-Pop's 2001 compilation Badlands: A Tribute...
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Only With Laughter Can You Win, Rosie Thomas
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