On her debut LP Socially Distant (out October 13, 2021), LA’s 18 year-old Mystery Rose establishes herself as an emerging rock/pop phenom. Deployed in torch ballads and pop-punk numbers, her wise-beyond her-years songwriting imbues the 11 songs. Though she’s obviously grown up with millennial pop stars like Miley Cyrus, Mystery Rose sets herself apart with emo pop-punk twists worthy of Mitski or Soccer Mommy, complemented by Dan West’s spot-on arrangements. Mystery Rose—aka Zoe Rose –commands the kineticism of youth while realizing there are some lessons people never stop learning. “There are no new stories, but we can put modern twists on age-old problems,” says Rose.
With these songs, she does just that, holding space for nostalgia, anger, and reckoning alike.
“All of the songs have a theme of isolation, loneliness and break ups. However, there is also a feeling of acceptance,” she explains. She’s cultivated these songs under the tutelage of musician-producer Dan West (d’Animal, LoveyDove, Sidewalk Society), who also produced Socially Distant from, a, well, social distance. West had helped Rose realize not only her talent but her desire to make music early on. “I was intrigued with him immediately because he acted more like a student than an adult and always had two fistfuls of coffee,” Rose laughs. Working with West and his wife, the psychedelia-indie rock singer-songwriter Azalia Snail, Rose has been steadily writing and recording. She’s dropped five singles since 2018, and they’ve caught the ears of Indie Alliance DJ’s, including Rodney Bingenheimer, whose “Rodney on the ROQ” show launched a host of legendary artists (Blondie, Joan Jett, Nirvana).
Mystery Rose’s songs are commanding attention with good reason. On Socially Distant, Rose reaches deeper into her storytelling, releasing a powerful arsenal of timely songs whose themes are evergreen. West’s arrangements support the versatility of Rose’s singing and writing. Throughout, she stays true to her love of live instruments, not including any programmed beats on the album. Rose has a backing band as well and is eager for venues to re-open.
Rose says lead single “Stability” is “about relationships. No matter who breaks things off, it affects your stability and your confidence about moving forward in another relationship. The lyrics revisit the happy parts of a relationship alongside memories of feeling pain—and of causing it. “Chances are you can’t see / you are messing with my stability / eternally,” Rose sings. The verses, built on guitar strums and a softly emotive voice, give way to an up-tempo, drum-driven chorus.
The second single, “Lovebirds on the Weekend” is a straight-up rock banger, full of crunchy electric guitar as Rose taunts “I would’ve treated you better than your girlfriend.” Her fierce melodies echo the dagger-to-the-heart moment when you see a lover with someone else. The song is “about on/off relationships and how you move on and say you don't care if you see them with someone new, but you kinda do care. It is an in-your-face rock song,” says Rose, confirmed by lines like “I don’t give a fuck about you or your girlfriend.”
Later, “Picture Perfect” takes listeners on a sweeping journey with dramatic twists and turns of tuneful exuberance that will leave no heartstrings un-tugged. The chorus finds Rose’s voice sounding both ethereal and rich. “It is about seeking that perfect state of balance,” Rose explains. The song shows off her vocal range and ability to pull off high-production ballads, all while eloquently capturing a moment.
While the songs on Socially Distant run the sonic gamut, they’re clearly written by the same deft hand, felt by the same bruised heart, and sung by a voice that has a lot more to say.
Socially Distant will be released October 13, 2021 and available at all major streaming sites, including bandcamp and Soundcloud. It will also be released on vinyl.
Steve Hanft (Beck, The Cure) directed music videos for the singles, and the video “Stability”—featuring a motorcycle journey through the California hills-- has already been released.
The album was produced and engineered by Dan West at Victory Way Studios in Shadow Hills, CA.