Healing is a journey
Flock of Dimes’ Jenn Wasner beautifully bares her soul in Head of Roses, using life experience and the lessons gleaned from introspection as guiding stars to turn her struggles into wisdom. Unafraid of digging deep into her psyche, Wasner bravely explores the twisting shadowy caverns of her true feelings on heartbreak, even if it means reconciling conflicting aspects of the self and embracing the unknown. Her confident yet unimposing vocal delivery embodies the motif of acceptance on the album, representing the charming way she’s mastered the art of healing through the quiet act of self-reflection. Head of Roses seems to be the result of such reflection, encouraging the world to find a home within themselves before anything else.
It is easy to feel lost in a dreamy deluge while listening to Head of Roses. Wasner’s voice is enthralling, seamlessly blending with silky synths and the gentle acoustic guitar to create a confluence of soul and sound. The record does an amazing job of keeping things dynamic while tethering itself to one particular style, similar to the way planets attach themselves to one strong orbiting sun. This sun almost represents the warmth Wasner imbues in every song, which facilitates the motif of healing. In “One More Hour,” Wasner admits, “and I could do anything/ but I wander in the world of you/ can I forgive myself/ for falling back into it,” referencing the idea of being disillusioned by one’s own emotional dissonance, but forgiving herself for it. Wasner allows herself to admit she wishes for “one more hour” despite her recognition of that desire’s impossibility. This motif of accepting dissonance is a common thread throughout the album, beginning with “2 Heads,” where Wasner sings, “How can I explain myself?/ I have two heads inside my mouth.”
With an emphasis on vocal delivery, the instrumentation serves as a guiding hand to exploring the dissonance found within Wasner. This almost represents the nature of the internal struggle she faces, the classic idea that one’s darkest battles are always fought beneath the surface. She continues on in “Two,” crying, “And we’re all just wearing bodies/ like a costume ’til we die,” further emphasizing a division in the sense of self. The soft music is the acceptance brought forth with the dynamic of observation, teaching that loving thyself without knowing thyself is perfectly okay. That is the beautiful element of Head of Roses; it doesn’t necessarily have a conclusion but rather opens a new beginning by accepting all elements of the self.
The record ends with the title track “Head of Roses,” where Wasner states, “I can’t help you/ See the meaning/ I can’t tell you/ What I don’t know,” expressing the only healing force that exists is the warmth the will can bring itself, the ability to know oneself as being the greatest sense of self achievable. The slow pluck of the piano keys powerfully resounds in the listener as Wasner concludes her journey, simulating the feeling of the sun slowly warming the cold ocean.
Head of Roses uses poetic mastery and enchanting echoes to teach that the acceptance of the self is one’s ultimate ticket to freedom. Wasner’s unmistakable voice ebbs and flows with the warm yet ghostly synths and keys, like a strong ship calmly floating on a current of deep emotion. The perfect record to calm anxiety and promote self-acceptance, Flock of Dimes’ Head of Roses will undoubtedly inspire a spark of mindfulness in any listener, which is certainly something appreciated today.