morning folks! this week, we’re looking at Rosie Tucker’s record from earlier this year!

Utopia Now! opens with Lightbulb – a song musing about creating music and art in the internet age while a smart lightbulb is shut off, updating via wifi. its a good sort of thesis statement for the record, which is largely concerned with tech, with capitalism, and the role of art and artists within that. whether referencing AI thought experiments like in the extremely catchy and very strong Paperclip Maximizer or the waste and side effects of convenience in All My Exes Live In Vortexes, the way tech shapes the modern era hangs over this entire record. but i think a large part of what it has to say comes strongest on the title track, Utopia Now!. sure, there’s disillusionment with the broken promises of what all this tech and progress is supposed to give, but Gill Scott Albatross finds love and hope in amongst broken social systems, Maylene offers sympathy and empathy to our fellow humans (both the mother and the son), Unending Bliss provides the blueprint for how to move forward in a world that pits us against those we may not agree with, and Utopia Now! brings that home near the end of the record, discussing the ways hurt and pain can keep us from connecting and to hold back but that there’s an impulse to push for a better world that we’ll likely need to embrace, despite the risks.

the record is still personal and sincere, in Rosie Tucker’s style – Big Fish/No Fun appears to be a subtweet of sorts about the indie music scene (“this aint a scene its a feeding frenzy” is an excellent line here – it also appears that the artist discussed here appears in a few other songs on the record), All My Exes compares the waste of consumerism to previous relationship, and Obscura tells another relationship story through a camera obscura. Me Minus One Atom is very neat – a song about the ship of theseus or the sorites paradox, applied to a person and a relationship.

it was also really fun seeing the results of the Tiny Songs record play out on a full sized release here – Maylene is tighter, lyrically, even if its not a short song, and White Savior Myth is an incredibly tight package (gotta note here that the “bitch ass!” vocal chime in KILLS me every time). but almost more importantly, i liked the push for a variety of different sounds here – a lotta pop punkier or emo-ier sounds on tracks like Suffer! Like You Mean It and Utopia Now!, the vocal sample distortions on Maylene, or even the sparse style on Lightbulb. the closer, Eternal Life goes all out with eclectic sampling and instrumentation and is a fascinating song.

on the whole, this record does not disappoint. killer hooks and melodies, thoughtful and cleaver lyricism, and a poignant message on creating music in 2024.

faves – All My Exes Live In Vortexes, Paperclip Maximizer, Suffer! Like You Mean It, Unending Bliss, Utopia Now!
dislikes –

Utopia Now! – 8/10

next week, we loop back to our last discography with Missio’s recent release, I Am Cinco

first: Lowlight | previous: Tiny Songs Volume 1 | next: who knows!

all my reviews for Rosie Tucker