Album Review: Rosie Tucker – ‘UTOPIA NOW!’

Posted: by The Editor

Rosie Tucker is an artist that feels almost painfully personable. Their discography feels as if they’ve set up camp in your head, causing you to forget a time when their lyricism and vulnerable vocal tendencies wasn’t sketched across the walls of your brain. With Utopia Now!, this cushy charm is only further solidified with the choice to self-produce the record at home with their creative partner, Wolfy. What results is a thoughtful mix of dream pop and emo-punk that might be Rosie Tucker’s sharpest songwriting outing to date as they saunter between emotional candor and the gravity of our political landscape.

The art-pop driven opener “Lightbulb” proves this as it follows Tucker’s rambles of consciousness. From lyrics such as “How many songwriters does it take to screw a tune?” to “I get jealous when someone I know’s on TV,” the lyrics wonder if it’s worth it to still consider pursuing a creative career anymore. Falling into the blue devils akin to Tom Waits and Fiona Apple, it’s a perspective that they continue to touch on throughout Utopia Now! 

“All My Exes Live in Vortexes” follows the same vein but is dressed up as a fun pop-punk romp. Opening with the line, “I hope no one has to piss in the bottle at work to get me the thing I ordered on the internet,” the track only evolves into commentary on the capitalism industry and its ever-present contortions it asks of its audience. Although… The chorus is just anthemic enough to make one forget how exhausting this societal tango is. 

Elsewhere, “Paperclip Maximizer” talks AI and mortality overtop a bubbling emo soundscape that feels both familiar and refreshing. Even the acoustic endeavors of “Big Fish No Fun” and “Maylene” are inked in Tucker’s diaristic mark, causing them to exist separately from a conventional indie rock ballad. 

Yet, it is in the latter half of the record where one sees Tucker and Wolfy’s production shine most. There’s a peculiarity that blossoms with “Suffer! Like You Mean It” which opens with a delicious guitar hook that dissolves into sparkly mall-rock. “Unending Bliss” follows Rosie on a journey of personalized therapy as they wish their enemies well, but it’s passed on more of a biting comment than anything. The quirky rock tune features some of the most interesting lyricism on the record, with clever quips such as “a fish with lungs. New dangled freak. A lonely leap. A sacred breach. The ones I was sing each to each in tongues that I no longer speak” that highlights how much fun Tucker has with their words.

The celestial waves of “Obscura” are a personal standout. This darkly romantic moment features everything that makes Rosie Tucker great, wrapped around creative perspectives about decaying love and astral planes. As the name suggests, Tucker builds off the idea of the “Camera Obscura,” observing human experiences through different lenses. It’s all tied together by their entrancing hooks, waning vocals, and moody atmosphere. 

Utopia Now! closes with a cover song. Yet, in Rosie Tucker fashion, Numero Group’s “Eternal Life” feels original to the indie-rocker. Molding it into a reflective, cathartic anthem about how much power love holds, it feels right to end an album full of so much societal and personal introspection here. 

Rosie Tucker is at their best on their fourth LP. Knowing exactly how to craft a perfect pop song, Utopia Now! skyrockets through political commentary, intellectual ideas, and conscious rambles all while sounding peppy and bright. Whether it’s in their impeccable ability to drive infectious melodies or their affable vocals, this album takes the listener on a journey of wit and humor that only further solidifies Rosie Tucker’s unforgettable presence in indie music.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

UTOPIA NOW! is out everywhere now with vinyl, CDs, and cassettes available through Tucker’s Bandcamp.

Hope Ankney | @hope_ankleknee

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