A few weeks before the world shut down in 2020, I went to Alexander 23’s first headline show at the Moroccan Lounge in LA. At the time, I had no idea who Blake Rose was until he got on stage to open the show. Halfway through his set, I recognized the song “Lost,” realizing that I had saved it to one of my playlists in 2019, and, naturally, felt incredibly cool to be able to say that I already knew this guy that everyone was currently falling in love with.
Following his first EP “A World Gone By” released in 2021, the 25-year-old just put out my favorite project of his to date. You’ll Get It When You’re Older feels like a culmination of Blake’s growth from the past few years, it feels a lot more solid than his previous ones when it comes to lyrics and visuals, while also delivering a more defined sound and more mature approach. Rose’s sound has always been characterized by a vast amount of layered vocals and acoustic production, allowing his voice’s range to own the spotlight. This time, however, the instrumentals throughout the entire EP follow a more established style that pushes him closer to a grungier and indier sound, while still maintaining the foundations of pop music.
“Demon,” the opening track released almost a year ago, reminds me of some of my favorite 5 Seconds of Summer songs, specifically from their Youngblood era. The electric guitars and build up from the pre-chorus feel pleasantly similar to me and it makes me want to jump around my room like a teenager. Even the theme of the song –a Hollywood wannabe-rockstar being a jerk– is familiar and evocative; “Thinkin’ you’re some kind of rockstar, (‘star), but I don’t know who the f*** you are, are, are.” “Dizzy” and “Don’t Stop The Car” follow a similar route, clinging onto the nostalgic and romantic symbolisms present both in the visuals and lyrics of this new era.
“Dizzy” was the song Blake chose for his late show debut with James Corden, and it will most likely be the main single from the entire project. It reminds me of Dayglow in the way it just scratches something in my brain and immediately boosts my mood, plus it clearly appeals to a certain audience with references to LANY and Tomdaya (me, I am the certain audience.)
We also get a chance to hear a very vulnerable take on loving somebody with an addiction problem. Blake has admitted that “Magazine” is about his sister’s struggle with drugs, and it’s an incredibly delicate and empathetic love letter to his parents, as he tries to lift some of the weight and guilt off their shoulders. Although deeply personal, it still almost sounds like a song that could be the opening track of a coming-of-age 90s movie.
On “Use Me,” the Perth-native returns to his slower, sad-boy roots and sings about being a little bit of a simp (but in a way that sounds cool and romantic,) and eventually goes full emotional, heartbroken, Dean-Lewis-style on “In Your Arms” and “Already Be Dead,” like in his early days.
The growth of Blake Rose’s artistry seems to be moving on a steady path, as he figures out what he wants his sound and brand to be like, while at the same time he lives through new experiences and phases of life. This man is definitely not the boy I saw at the Moroccan Lounge anymore. Not in a way where he has sold his soul to the LA demons like a lot of young artists do, but as someone who captivates the charms of being young and figuring out what being an adult is all about.
You’ll Get It When You’re Older is out now.