I love when a songwriter finds an interesting new way to say something that has been said a million times before. Sophie Rose has that innate talent. She has a knack for turning seemingly trivial musings into poignant observations that are deeply meaningful.
Sophie Rose’s new EP, aptly titled This Is What 21 Feels Like, is full of examples of her songwriting talent. The five-song collection is written from the point of view of someone coming of age, thoughtfully embracing independence yet wondering where life’s path will lead to next.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Sophie Rose knows exactly how to put her astute observations into beautifully crafted lyricism. She’s had plenty of practice. Her website explains that she’s a prolific songwriter who has written hundreds of songs over the last few years.
Inspired by artists like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Bruno Mars, the California-born artist knows how to combine gentle pop melodies with storytelling that’s universally understood.
Sophie Rose’s talent was acknowledged early on. At the age of 14, she signed a publishing contract with Esther Dean and the great people of Prescription Songs. Since then, Sophie Rose has mostly focused on writing for others while also developing her own artist project.
In fact, pop aficionados among you may remember Sophie Rose’s previous releases “Two Young Lovers,” “Pink Lipstick,” and “Famous” that was co-produced by pop mastermind Cirkut.
The overall theme of This Is What 21 Feels Like is established right at the EP’s beginning. “Better World” wistfully captures the anxiety about living life independently and taking responsibility for your own decisions. Sophie Rose shares:
“Sometimes, I wish I could run away from home
But I’m twenty-one and living on my own.” (. . . )
”I just want someone to hold me
And tell me it’s all gonna be alright.” (. . . )
“Sometimes, I wish I could run away from home
And go some place that no one’s ever known
Where everyone is loved and all are free
And life ain’t always tearing at the seams.”
Set to a subtle yet driving beat in the chorus, Sophie Rose’s pitch-perfect and delicate vocals convey the vulnerability of the song’s lyrics perfectly.
Sophie Rose explained on Instagram how meaningful crafting “Better World” was, “Writing this was incredibly therapeutic for me, and the more I listened back and played it for friends, I realized it may be comforting to others.”
“I hope that it can shed some light in the darkness. It’s the first of many songs I’m planning to release this year and has very much inspired my whole project.”
Despite its bittersweet and introspective undertones, “Frida Kahlo” also captures a message of hope. Sophie Rose encourages others to take charge of life and color it any way they see fit. It’s once again a refreshing take on a theme discussed many times before. She sings:
“Draw myself like Frida Kahlo
See the beauty in my sorrow (. . . )
I know when my sky is turning gray.
I can paint it blue another day.”
One of the EP’s high points is “Peace On Earth,” which equates finding true love to establishing peace on earth. The latter seems impossible to achieve, but if true love is possible, perhaps there’s hope for our planet as well.
Sophie Rose’s unique point of view showcases her immense songwriting ability. It’s a refreshing way to describe a topic that has been covered countless times before. It’s pretty brilliant, honestly.
She demonstrates it again on the very personal “Somebody’s Daughter,” which serves as the emotional core of the project. It’s a gut-wrenching ballad about growing up and seeing the imperfections of those who raised you. Her lyricism and point of view once again show Sophie Rose’s penchant for profoundly moving storytelling:
“They say don’t ever meet your heroes
What if you see them every day
And start to think that they’re just people
Hiding their hurt under a cape.” (. . . )
“It’s strange how the roles change the older you get
First they keep you safe then you’re the safety net.”
This Is What 21 Feels Like concludes with the EP’s title track that, well, describes exactly what’s it like to move away from home and go through the changes of being a grown-up. Despite its gloomy sonic aesthetic, it’s a hopeful track that’s gorgeously performed and a fitting finale to a very personal compilation of songs.
There’s no doubt that Sophie Rose crafted this EP with great intent, love, and care. Even though her experiences are unique, she turned them into a set of moving and uplifting songs that will resonate far and wide. She balances authentic storytelling with a hopeful sentiment that’s uniquely told. And herein lies Sophie Rose’s greatest promise and achievement.
… And with that, my friends, I’m happy to report that the state of Pop is strong.
This Is What 21 Feels Like [listen]