Album Reviews

Lucy Rose – This Ain’t The Way You Go Out

(Communion) UK release date: 19 April 2024


Written in the wake of a traumatic time, this blissfully light, uplifting listen is also fearsomely defiant

Lucy Rose - This Ain't The Way You Go Out It’s fair to say that Lucy Rose has been through the wringer in the last few years. After giving birth to her son in 2021, she started to experience extreme pain in her back, and couldn’t even pick up her new baby or push his pram. After months of being dismissed by her GP and various other medical professionals, she was eventually diagnosed with part-partum osteoporosis, and after paying for her own MRI scan, discovered she had broken eight vertebrae in her back.

Rose’s fifth album was written in the wake of this traumatic time, and you’d be forgiven for imagining it may be a bit of a slog to listen to. It turns out the opposite is the case – This Ain’t The Way You Go Out is a blissfully light, uplifting listen, and as the title may suggest, a fearsomely defiant one as well.

Over lockdown, Rose listened almost exclusively to funk and hip-hop, and so Kwes, who has worked previously with the likes of Loyle Carner and Sampha, feels like a natural choice as producer. It’s an album marked by jazzy piano, by unexpected time signatures, and lyrics that sound like they’ve been ripped from the pages of her diary. As good as her earlier folk-rock songs were, this new direction is one that suits Rose extremely well.

Opening track Light As Grass is as gossamer light as its name hints at – a blissful piano melody winds it way through the song, while the lyrics hint at Rose’s physical pain – “come find me in discomfort” runs the opening line. That’s followed by the urgent, pulsing Could You Help Me, which has a strangely spacey vibe to it. Again, it’s very obviously autobiographical, as it’s describing Rose’s frustration with various medical professionals who dismissed her symptoms as “hysteria” (in the 21st century). Although the tone is still light and warm, there’s a biting sarcasm in the way that Rose wistfully sings “could you fit me in your busy day?”.

Life’s Too Short has a gorgeously muted trumpet and an understated shuffle to it, one of the many songs that bathes itself in a life-affirming positivity, while Over When It’s Over treads similar ground, a naggingly catchy number that slowly gets under your skin the more you hear it. And while all this is beautifully accessible, Rose and Kwes are unafraid to add an experimental edge to some tracks – Sail Away features some skittering beats and distorted guitars, while the closing track The Racket builds into an exhilarating cacophony of noise towards the end. Given everything Rose went through while writing the album, it feels almost cathartic.

For that’s the secret to This Ain’t The Way You Go Out – there’s no wallowing, and instead a determination to take life by the scruff of the neck bursts through this album. Even on the album’s title track, which is probably the most musically and lyrically downbeat moment (“I don’t feel like I believe in me anymore, well my time has run short, and I blame myself for being so weak” runs one line), there’s a steely determination which runs through the track – and, indeed the album as a whole.

There’s also a rather lovely happy ending, as Rose has recently revealed she’s now pregnant with her second child. It’s the perfect postscript to this album, a life-affirming reminder that there’s always a rainbow around the corner, even in the darkest of times.


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