Written by: Andrea Janov, CC2K Music Editor
Rodeo Ruby Love’s The Pits is an album that really defies categorization. It is a bit indie, a bit twangy, and a bit of a Broadway cast recording feel (yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll get into it).
The first track, Made It Marion captured be and hyped me up for the rest of the record, the track continues to build and build until the end when you are on fire with the urge to sing and dance. As the album progresses there are tracks with pianos and tracks with horns, there are quite tracks that make you reflect, and there are tracks that demand you get up and dance.
Made it Marion and Arizona are the tracks that evoked my Broadway comparison, It Was Weird is a lighthearted track dripping nostalgia with an awesome totally weird abrupt ending , Where You Find It is heavy, Sweet Adam begins with a hymn feel to it until a ragtime piano kicks in and takes over. Wires Cukoo comes out of nowhere, it is super fun, super dancey, and super super high energy. There is plenty of opportunities to sing along and some great “do do do”’s. The Problem is serious and slow yet catchy and sing-along-able and the perfect ending to this album.
So, for the Broadway reference, you may not know, but in addition to punk , I love Broadway musicals. No joke. So as I was listening to the female vocals on Made It Marion and Arizona I could not help drawing parallels to rock musicals. like Next to Normal and American Idiot. The vocals are theatrical with a rock edge (something I am an absolute sucker for). The layering of the male and female lead vocals in these tracks are also stellar because they are both powerful and distinctive yet work together in such harmony and share center stage while never battling for the spotlight. Arizona has the most amazing arrangement, the different vocals representing different characters and experiences, it ebbs and flows and plays off one another (like and great musical).
One of the strongest elements for this record are the lyrics. Their lyrics are familiar, casual, profound and able to connect with the listeners because of their accessibility and identifiability. Made It Marion offers “Maybe I forgot / my convictions in the backseat / of a ‘97 Chevy Caviler” and “ I fell in love / with the world all at once / everyone felt so out of place” from Arizona. It Was Weird touches on the outline of some many of us small town punks, “Hardcore dancing in our underwear” and “fallin’ in love / with the middle of nowhere / it was weird / but it meant something to me”. And Where You Find It offers the simple affirmation, “There’s nothing wrong with us / we don’t need fixing up”.
This record is something unique and genre crossing and grew on me with each listen.