The songs of Rose Melberg, from the world to Vancouver
Posted: Nov 22nd, 2011
Fifteen letters about nineteen years of Melberg music. For some the choice of song represents a glance at their love of everything the artist has accomplished, and everything anticipated about her music to come. For others it's about the song itself, the way Melberg invents a lyric, spins out lines of melody and harmony, presses the face of twee pop against dark mirrors and shining windows. For others still, the song was an anthem and soundtrack to youth and love and personal rites of passage, for which the music of Melberg, and The Softies and Tiger Trap in particular, has served as the perfect catalyst and catharsis. Or all of the above.
Then, a sixteenth letter. It's by a correspondent I'd given up hope of hearing from, received while I was mulling over ways to make some concluding remarks that captured all that is unique about Melberg's talent, while avoiding gilding the lily. The message was from Angela Loy, Melberg's musical partner in her first band, Tiger Trap. I'll leave the parting tribute to her:
Being in a band with Rose was one of the best experiences of my life. Ever since high school I have always regarded her as the most creative person I have ever met. She drew, created art, played music, wrote, cooked ... and none of her creations ever lacked imagination and brilliance. When we were in a band, she would write a song and then play it for me at which time I would write the guitar lead and we would collaborate on the backing vocals. It was just her and I at times playing at her house or in the park or in the van on tour, which were, to me, the best parts of being in the band. I would hear her songs firsthand and they would always blow my mind. Her lyrics were always so clever and smart and the song always flowed. I think my favorite song to play with her was Puzzle Pieces. When she told me the lyrics I just always thought to myself, "Rose is a genius". I always looked up to her, she has always inspired me, and when people have asked me through the years why I haven't been in another band since Tiger Trap the response is easy, "I'm not playing with Rose".
Brave Irene (photo by Caitlin Livingstone)