This guy's been putting out a steady stream of intelligent continental soft pop, the kind of perfect party background music that doesn't intrude on anybody's personal space but rather swirls around the contours of one's head like a comfortable pillow. And on even closer investigation, you'll find Rouse singing funny lyrics, such as "I wanna die in a car crash, in the back of a New York City cab," only to recant later in the song that he has too much to live for and, what's worse, the cab driver's "got an attitude."
Somewhere, somebody ruined the term "easy listening" for the rest of us by insulting the listener's intelligence with banal greeting card sentiments and dullard arrangements. Rouse always has something extra going on underneath his limited but engaging almost talk-sung delivery an insinuating pedal steel, a Synclavier or a gentle mellotron or horn section. He may remind some of Paul Simon, especially on "Hollywood Bass Player," a bouncy travelogue that hops from Manhattan to Paris where "The French didn't want me around, they didn't like my groove," and finally to Hollywood, each time sweating out that it's his last chance to get it right. You'll also find him and girlfriend Paz Suey (together, they recently released an irresistible five-song EP titled She's Spanish, I'm American) dueting on a song that offers the greatest soft-focus snapshot of a slowly disintegrating relationship since Rupert Holmes' "The Piña Colada Song." When a song with lyrical truths such as "Domesticated lovers never know they're fighting" comes on the stereo, you squirm. Unless the rot has already set in.
Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.