Recommended Tracks: “Ireland in 2009”, “Perhaps It’s Mine”, “Arrivederci”
Artists You May Like: Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish
As much as we may try to avoid feeling certain emotions, such as jealousy, anxiety, or fear, there are times when they just catch us by surprise. There are also times when we feel them so strongly that we just have to make beautifully tragic songs about them in order to set ourselves free. Well, at least this is how singer-songwriter Caroline Romano processes these emotions. Over the past year, she has released more than a handful of singles that pinpoint the overwhelming rush of reality, building up to her debut album, Oddities & Prodigies.
Finding our way through our teenage years and becoming acquainted with our adult selves is challenging, and we can be hard on ourselves through the process. There are moments on the album when Caroline takes the blame for some of the misery she is experiencing, as she does on “Perhaps It’s Mine,” where she wonders whether she came on too strong in a relationship. Over gentle piano, she sings, “The more I gave, the more you left” and considers, “Maybe you would’ve stayed if I never tried,” assuming that she is at fault for the breakup. There are also tracks like “Dramatic” and “I’m Bad,” where she tears herself down, openly calling out her flaws and mistakes.
Of course, there are times when she embraces some of the awkward moments she describes, finding a light in these unconventional scenarios. On the soft “Grocery Store,” Caroline expresses the joy she feels in being amongst strangers in a grocery store, all unaware of the secrets she keeps inside. We also have the acoustic “Lonely Interlude,” which is a somewhat continuation of “Grocery Store.” On the track, she sings about how someone’s absence is making her feel alone, but every thought she has of that person also gives her comfort – taking her out of that loneliness. The opening track, “Oddities and Prodigies,” best explains her affinity for these random situations, as she sings, “I’ll make it hard and that makes it art and I fall apart and I love it.”
Out of the album’s massive 16 tracks, there are only a few that dabble in optimism and bring out some of Caroline’s vivacity. We have playful tracks such as “Ireland in 2009” and “The Hypothetical,” where Caroline conjures up vivid tales of love and adventure. There is also the warm “Leaving Wednesday,” where she looks forward to finding herself and all that awaits her out in the world. It would be nice if there were more of these carefree tracks on the album, just to balance out some of the gloomier ones, but that is life – sometimes excitement is hard to come by.
Overall, Oddities & Prodigies further progresses Caroline as an artist, as it contains some of her strongest work to date. We all know from previous releases that she is an incredible lyricist, able to eloquently express powerful emotions and ideas. We also know that she can sing stripped-back and delicate songs with as much potency as she has on her edgier, more rhythmic tracks. By being so candid and displaying these different sides of herself, Caroline is effectively creating a safe space for those who need one, as her personal truths can be felt by so many.
You can listen to Oddities & Prodigies on platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.