December Rose’s sophomore album Inside Out is an arrangement like nothing I’ve ever heard before.
The album, musically cut in two, alternates between original pop music and snippets of well-known hymns.
The spiritual component is a nod to December’s time spent as a child choir singer while spending time with her grandmother in church.
The remainder of the album takes listeners on an incredibly personal journey through December’s life experiences; ranging from her relationships and how she faces adversity with strength, poise and a flash of attitude.
The Montreal-born and raised singer/songwriter was classically trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music and earned two silver medals. Combined R&B/pop and hymns push her powerhouse voice to centre stage.
Not being one for the connotations of religious and spiritual music it’s easy to say without exaggeration December’s renditions of the songs were pure pleasure to listen to; she possesses the voice of an angel and belongs in a glided concert hall.
December reins in her voice a bit for the pop songs, creating something more in-line with today’s sound. While vocally the results are not as impressive, it’s clear the move is deliberate and shows the absolute control December has over her voice; her talents are not diminished.
The emotional “Mamma” and freeing “Best of Me,” while polar opposites, are the most memorable tracks on the album. Both feature vivid stories, and with her honest and concise lyrics December is able to create an experience with intelligence. No bubbly-dumb pop songs here.
While the songs are very personable to December Rose, her powerful words and emotion easily draw the listener in and evoke something very recognizable and very human.
The first single off the album, “Circus,” provides a much needed feel-good party track and is complemented well by the “Big Mouth,” a sassy girl-power ballad.
Opening the album with a few lines from “Down by the River to Pray” was confusing at first but after realizing every second song is a hymn brought Inside Out together in a completely unique manner, and fans of catchy pop music and seasoned, powerful voice should stop, listen and smell the roses.