JUNO Award winning songwriter Rose Cousins’ newest offering, Bravado, is the sound of a heart trying to open. It explores the complication of emotion, its irrational tendencies and its wisdom. It invites us to feel the courage it takes to be vulnerable.
Bravado is a record for those who struggle with loneliness and those wishing they had more time alone. It’s for those attempting to make their hearts go in more than one direction and those trying to make it go in just one. It’s for those who present a version of themselves to the world that doesn’t quite match how they feel inside. It’s for those who feel misunderstood or unseen. It’s for those who have a hard time saying what they feel, who hide or can’t let themselves off the hook. It’s for those asking, “is this it?” and questioning if the character they play in the movie of their lives is authentic or just a role they’ve accepted. It’s for those who have a hard time asking for help and for those desperate for and terrified of change.
“I think about how we’re so disconnected. I get sucked into my phone and forget to go for a walk because of this sense of obligation that I have that convinces me to get as much work done as possible. It feels like we’re not connecting in person as much as we used to and that we may be the loneliest we’ve ever been. We’re missing what’s actually happening, like, the earth being on fire. We get caught in the spin of comparing our lives to social media depictions, false standards of a good life. I’ve been thinking about how we must be getting close to a breaking point.”
For Cousins, this chapter is a personal and professional metamorphosis. She is in the producer chair, applying her years of experience, trusting her own ear and pulling thoughtfully from her network of talented colleagues.
Bravado is flanked by two distinct renditions of the same song, “The Benefits of Being Alone/ The Reprise” reinforcing the record’s examination of emotional duality. The record starts in bravado’s swagger then drops us into “The Fraud” which wrestles with the desire to stay hidden and be seen. “The Time Being (Impending Mortality Awareness Society)”, reminds and invites us to pay attention to what’s most important, to be present. The album lifts to its highest level of hope and most pop production in “The Return (Love Comes Back)”, solidifying Cousins’ collaborative nature by recruiting an international choir of friends to join in at the end. “The Lullaby (My Oldest Love)” written with Tim Baker (Hey Rosetta), touches the desperate need for affirmation, “The Benediction”, a yearning for acceptance.
Cousins’ last project, Natural Conclusion, received notable acclaim, including a nomination for a 2018 Grammy Award, a nomination for Songwriter of the Year award at the 2018 JUNO Awards, and three wins at the East Coast Music Awards. Cousins also writes for film and TV and her songs have appeared on the programs Grey’s Anatomy, Supergirl, Reign, and Nashville, among others. She has shared stages with heroic songwriters such as Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Lori McKenna, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jann Arden, and Ron Sexsmith.