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Under Cold Blue Stars

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1.Feeling No Pain 2.Nothing Gives Me Pleasure 3.Women And Men 4.The Whole Night Through 5.Twilight 6.Under Cold Blue Stars 7.Summer Kitchen Ballad 8.Ugly Stories 9.Christmas With Jesus 10.Miracle 11.Ears To The Ground

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Under Cold Blue Stars, the third album from native Nebraskan Josh Rouse, is full of elegant, melodic pop songs that are deftly understated but carry hooks as catchy as Coldplay's (whose music the opening song, "Twilight," uncannily evokes). This is music for folk in love with Americana and timeless pop; it's a gentle hinterland of melancholy and hope. The loose concept behind Under Cold Blue Stars is that of a fractious couple in the late 1950s, trying to come to terms with their lives and relationship. "Christmas with Jesus" is an unashamedly beautiful realization of their struggles, as is the upbeat title track, which touches on sources as diverse as Nils Lofgren, the Cure, and even Bruce Springsteen (albeit, a Springsteen shorn of all pride and aggrandizement). All this adds up to make Under Cold Blue Stars rather special. --Everett True
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 19, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Slow River Records
  • ASIN: B00005UOWM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,249 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on December 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Josh Rouse has developed into one of the best American rock songwriters that few people have ever heard of. Tagged as an "Alternative Country" artist because of the slight twang that infected his earlier efforts, Rouse's sound has evolved to become the kind of mainstream rock that was hugely popular back in the 1970's, but is considered progressive and edgy these days. That said, "Under the Cold Blue Stars" is good enough to deserve a Ryan Adams-like breakthrough to mass popularity. Rouse's voice is at times a dead ringer for Admas and his songwriting is much more disciplined.
The best track on the album is the single "Miracle," which contains a killer hook and a sweet meoldy. "Feeling no Pain" is another pop rock gem in a similar mode, while "Christmas With Jesus," "Ugly Stories," "Women and Men" and the quiet closing ballad "The Whole Night Through" are also excellent. The album is relatively brief at only 11 tracks, but contains no clunkers.
Overall, an outrstanding mainstream rock album that deserves a wider audience.
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By A Customer on February 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
With "Under Cold Blue Stars" Josh Rouse earns a reason to be labeled one of the best singer/songwriters on the scene today, along with Pete Yorn, John Mayer, and Ryan Adams. Popping up in such movies as "Hamlet" and "Vanilla Sky" Josh is set to finally bust out into the mainstream. On this album, he takes a slightly more "homegrown" and mellancholly approach to his music than "Home". Definitely pick up this CD (if you can find it.) Stand out tracks are "Miracle" and "Feeling No Pain."
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Format: Audio CD
Josh Rouse's third CD, Under Cold Blue Stars is a significant improvement over his previous efforts. Here for the first time, he has put together a collection of songs with a common theme (a "song cycle").
The concept of the CD describes the day to day pitfalls and emotional turmoil of two people trying to keep their relationship from falling apart. The songs are thematically linked and they sort of "flow" from one to another.
Fans of Rouse's previous work will be pleased to know that all of his charming embellishments are still present. His gentle, wistful delivery... his affable mid-western accent... and his increasing interest in 70's soul music (see title track here; and also the song "Marvin Gaye" from his previous Home CD).
The best songs here are: "Miracle", "Christmas With Jesus", "Summer Kitchen Ballad", "Women and Men" and the title track, "Under Cold Blue Stars".
Folky and surreal, melancholy and melodic, this CD sounds best when played in it's entirety rather than skipping around from song to song. I prefer to listen to it at night... and let it's bleak, ethereal and strangely beautiful vision sweep across my room. If you like neo-folk or alt-country (like Wilco) you will probably also enjoy this excellent CD. Highly Recommended !
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Format: Audio CD
This is a beautifully crafted set of songs. All the songs relate to a relationship that went awry. "Nothing Gives Me Pleasure" chronicles the beginning, when you are so happy because you think you got the right one, which goes into "Miracle" because that person feels the same. Then you got a man trying to understand and be a part of his wife's fervent religious beliefs, then the child (children?) comes, then the affair, the breakup, and the trying to work within a comfort zone of caring and understanding. The musical arrangements shimmer-they are just beautiful and melodic, and belie the downbeat lyrics in many of the songs. He certainly doesn't have the greatest singing voice, but it is well suited to these kind of songs, and he sings with heaps of emotion and sincerity that really makes you FEEL the songs! It's a shame that radio can't find a spot for this kind of recording, because it really is one of the best cd's I've heard this year. Highly recommended!
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Format: Audio CD
This is one of those c.d.'s that I really loved from the first minute I heard it.It has a real sense of instant accessibility yet when you give it a few more listens you discover that it is an album of amazing depth.
Musically it sounds so much like Lambchop meeting the voice of Ryan Adams-at times the similarities are almost uncanny.Vocally Rouse has that same coarse vocal style of Adams and the background music has the sound I loved so much on Lambchop's Nixon c.d.It came as no surprise when I heard subsequently that Rouse had worked with Kurt Wagner on a previous e.p.Musically it has that alt/country sound but with a little more funky rhythm guitar playing.The tracks have a real laidback sort of cruising feel to them-especially the initial tracks.The second half of the album grows noticeably darker.And this is where I discovered the albums extra hidden depth.
Under The Cold Blue Stars is in fact a sort of concept album-as there seems to be a storyline connecting the whole thing together.The album's lyrics tell of a couple who live in small-town America some decades ago.The two main characters a man and a woman seem both very different and this album traces there happiness right through to their ultimate downfall.It sort of explains why the first tracks are so upbeat and the latter half is way darker.The whole mood change occurs exactly halfway through the album with the tale of adultery and betrayal with the track "Ugly Stories"-Rouse sings about how you can never trust anyone.You'd expect this track to be really slow and melancholic,but instead it's a gentle acoustic driven number with wonderful organ sound,it's almost got a resigned sound rather then the sound of complete anger or desperation.
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