Up and coming country music artist Lily Rose breaks ground with her first EP Stronger Than I Am, flawlessly blending vulnerability with classic country music elements in this seven-song project. Rose, recently blew up in the country music scene less than a year ago, is best known for climbing charts with her 2020 single “Villain”. She has easily grown to more than 838,000 followers on TikTok, utilizing it to promote her music, do covers, and show off her personality. In a recent video, she excitedly remarks, “Never been more excited for a song or project!” while promoting Stronger Than I Am, her debut EP.
The first track on the EP is familiar to fans of Rose and more broadly, country music listeners everywhere. She introduces us to the EP with “Villian”, her most popular track today. “Villain” delivers powerful storytelling, with a dark twist that pulls you in with all elements of a classic “hero” and “villain” story. She expresses in the haunting chorus, “You can be the hero / I can take the fall / If that’s how your story goes / Say it’s all my fault”. This track alone gives us a solid idea of Rose’s intimacy that she shares through her music with her fans.
The title track, “Stronger Than I Am” follows. Just when we thought she couldn’t get any more vulnerable, her distinct voice fills with heartbreak as she shares, “I’m usually good at dealing with things / but all my old tricks that I’m used to ain’t workin’ the same”. She creates metaphors between the strength of alcohol to break the own personal strength she has within herself when healing from a recent breakup. “Sometimes I feel stronger than I am / Sometimes I can handle my own / Sometimes my day goes just like I planned / Sometimes I forget that you’re gone / Sometimes I pick myself up and I shake the dust off / But tonight I don’t feel like I can / That’s why I’m sitting here sippin’ / On something that’s stronger than I am”
When “I Don’t Smoke” begins, listeners are immediately drawn in with the classic country sound. In her third track, she relates to her listeners with the initial lyric “Yeah, I’ve been creepin’ on your IG”. From just this first line, we’re convinced that this track is an attention grabber, that doesn’t let go until the last beat of the song. The “revenge” track is fun, relatable, and catchy all the way to the end.
“And I know that I’ve been playin’, sayin’ / That I don’t want you still / Me not pickin’ up my phone when it rings / That’s like sayin’ I don’t smoke when I drink / Cause you know I will”
Rose’s fourth track, “Remind Me Of You” is a modern-day love triangle expressed as an upbeat track with somber lyrics that create the perfect country music song. While the actual music lifts us up, Rose’s voice reveals pain with yet another powerful story about heartbreak. In this track, the lyrics reveal that she is using someone else to get over her ex, but quickly realizes she cannot love her, because she doesn’t remind her of her past love. “I should be so into her by now / But all I can think about is how / She don’t remind me of you”, she reveals in the second verse. By the end of the track, our hearts are left on Lily Rose’s floor with “She’s nowhere close / I thought that was the point, but it’s not / It turns out she never had a shot”.
Track number five, “Know My Way Around” hits us with the ultimate opposite of what we were expecting from the title and the first verse. It opens powerfully with, “I know my way around my hometown / I know every backroad and red light” giving us false expectations of a nostalgic family-centered track. However, Rose hits us with the chorus, drawing us into her train of thought as the events unfold for her. “But ever since you walked in / Only thing that I’ve been thinking of is my next move”, this lyric alone turns the once nostalgic track into a brand-new twist on the meaning of “Know My Way Around”. In the memorable chorus, she reflects on her first meeting with this girl, giving us all the butterflies that come with a new relationship.
“Breakin’ In” a brand new track draws lines back to “Stronger Than I Am” and “I Don’t Smoke” with so many classic country music elements. She intimately shares her experience with moving on from a relationship and working through a broken heart, all while relating to the previously mentioned tracks. However, in “Breakin’ In” she is now reflecting on the healing process that comes along with all the feelings one tries to avoid in her situation. She admits, “If I’m ever gonna close that door / One thing’s for sure / I gotta get to breakin’ in this broken heart”, and expresses her fears when doing so.
Lastly, track seven, “Whole Lotta Hometowns” takes all the themes such as heartbreak, small-town feels, and nostalgia from this EP and ties all of them together. Rose fearlessly delivers her final track with power and passion that make us all miss home. In “Whole Lotta Hometowns” she provides the nostalgia we expected in “Know My Way Around” with vivid images like “population sign”, “main streets”, “post-game parties” that all of us listening can picture ourselves in.
“Most of ‘em got a Waffle House / Where you go when you’re wasted / But then your friends get kicked out / for talking back to the waitress” is just one of these vivid images expressed through a verse that make us feel at home, and with Lily Rose in her hometown, all at once. She provides additional themes such as growing up and traveling but always finding your way back home. This track wraps her EP in a nice cozy bow of nostalgia that makes us feel okay with our hearts previously shattering.
Lily Rose is making her mark as a country music artist all while breaking boundaries and relating to previous songs and themes of the genre flawlessly. Her power of storytelling and imagery sticks out amongst other artists at this time, not only by her lyrics, but with her relatability on social media platforms. Her poignancy is one that will not be easily discarded in the industry. MusicRow DISClaimer declares her as, “drawing a pick-up line, and it’s mighty inviting.” This is working for her so far, inviting her onto the Chris Lane Fill Them Boots Tour, taking off this fall.
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