Review: Portland-based Ezza Rose demands social justice on ‘No Means No’

Photo courtesy of BUST Magazine

Story by Max Leach / Contributing Writer

Ezza Rose doesn’t want to tell you that no means no because she knows she shouldn’t have to. Her newest album, entitled “No Means No,” will compel you to listen to what she has to say whether you like it or not.

Getting her start as a punk-rock drummer in her desert hometown of Julian, California, Ezza Rose has been writing songs from a very young age. Her earlier albums capture her in a more vulnerable place; ominous harmonies blended with a soft, melancholic voice cultivate a sound more easily defined as folk. Now joined by her band (who plays under her name), the instrumentation of their music has electrified and with it grown to be slightly more complex. The ambient finger-strumming of her acoustic guitar has evolved into a layer of dreamy synth sounds and catchy riffs. In “No Means No,” Portland-based Ezza Rose has not only amplified their sound but their message as well.

The album kicks off with “Circles,” a dreamy, psychedelic number that sets the tone for what’s to come in the album. The synthesizer and reverberated guitar pull you in and Rose’s soft, dreamy voice is nearly hypnotic. Her vocals in this song play a more instrumental role rather than lyric delivery, which is somewhat difficult to understand on its own. The drums maintain a steady yet thunderous beat and exemplify the reinvention of Ezza Rose’s sound; one which used to lack such sonic textures and accompaniments.

The track that follows is “No Means No,” the title track and first single of this album. This post-punk homage conveys a powerful message that Rose demands you to listen to. Ezza Rose has had enough; and rightfully so, because her frustration with others accepting her words at face value accurately portrays what’s wrong with the standards of some people in today’s society. The music video for this song shows men in positions of power with blurred-out faces harassing women in the workplace and becoming upset when those women share their lack of interest in them. It demands the viewer to ask how much longer these images will be representative of today’s society, and the last scene asks if it will carry on into future generations.

“Baby, Come Down” is a slowed-down ballad about being in love with an addict. Rose’s voice is more familiar to the previous records on this song, but the melodies within the track are more of a dreamy homage to the 1950s. “American Man” maintains a slow pace but aims toward a different direction sonically; here, the drums are thunderous and the distorted guitar adds a hint of Americana while the song slowly builds up into a powerful declaration of the injustice in today’s society once again.

The inequalities of society are brought into the spotlight more everyday, women’s voices are growing louder and the tolerance for wrongdoings and invasive advances toward women are beginning to diminish. “No Means No” is an album that endorses the #MeToo Movement and commands the listener to hear what Rose has to say. While the sound of Ezza Rose is still evolving, the change of pace that Rose brings forth on this album could not be more fitting for the passion behind her message. No means no, and sorry isn’t good enough.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email

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1 Comment

  1. mela
    October 4, 2018