Review: Dear Rouge at The Opera House in Toronto, November 25, 2022

Tonight’s Dear Rouge show at The Opera House felt like a joyful reunion. On a night where I got together with a good friend I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic, I felt also reunited with old friends in Dear Rouge, with old friends in their songs and with an old friend in live music.

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44. Oxygène, Jean-Michel Jarre

Oxygene Jean-Michel Jarre

This post is in honour of my father, who we lost on August 11, so I’m breaking rules. I didn’t listen to this on shuffle and it’s not a song, it’s an entire album. And it’s a weird album. And it’s an album that scared the living daylights out of me as a kid because of the earth-skull album cover you can see above and because the music just creeped me the hell out. It’s also the only album I ever knew my dad to buy or care about in any way.

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The Spirts of Dear Rouge’s “Spirit”

The “About” page on Dear Rouge’s website currently asks the reader, “What does the word ‘spirit’ invoke in you?” I purposely didn’t read further because I wanted to think about this. It means a lot of things to me. It means your essence, almost like a soul; the light within you; everything that makes you you. It can suggest a kind of internal joy. Sometimes it’s a sense of inspiration. And there’s the obvious ghostly connotation.

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R.I.P., Taylor Hawkins

It’s so sad to have to type that headline. So shocking. Taylor Hawkins seemed like a man so full of joy and life. And that came through so strongly in his drumming. It seemed like he was always having fun behind that kit. Even though he wasn’t always smiling back there. Often when you looked at his face, he had the determined look of concentration and exhaustion that you see on a marathon runner mid-race. Teeth gritted, almost wincing.

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New Dear Rouge: “Fake Fame”

Three years ago – 2018 – was a big Dear Rouge year. Their bombastic second album, Phases, dropped, I saw them live twice, chatted with them once, and just generally fell deeper in love with them. On the new music front, they’ve been quiet ever since, yet still engaged with their fans, especially during the pandemic, performing full albums during livestreams (which I tried to enjoy like I was actually there), on Instagram, etc. But today, finally: new music! So here are my first thoughts on “Fake Fame”:

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