Rose Cousins: “The Benefits of Being Alone”

Sad songs, friend. They are the salve that soothes the soul. And some artists are so synonymous with sad songs that they are, quite literally, part of their brand. From Gretchen Peters to Gregory Alan Isakov, leaning into the pain of life can be a creative process and a transformative experience, all in one.

JUNO Award-winning singer/songwriter Rose Cousins is another name very closely and beautifully tied to sad tunes which is part of what makes this breezy new number such a breath of fresh air. It’s the first track off her upcoming Bravado album, scheduled is for a February 21, 2020 release via Outside Music.

In “The Benefits of Being Alone,” Cousins has crafted the flip side of the “Freedom” coin. There, her tongue seemed to be planted painfully in her cheek, as she ticked through all the things she had freedom from now that a relationship had ended. Here, though, her take feels rooted genuinely in her joy, as she rolls off all the things she can enjoy in her own company. The Wes Anderson-inspired video, co-directed by Cousins and Shehab Illyas with the help of illustrator Hannah Emmett, brings to life that easy, Instagram-ready existence — what Cousins calls, “A perfect world, clearly contrived.”

However, that’s only one interpretation of the song and the album also includes a second that, if Cousins’ history is any indication, might well suggest that a perfect world, even if contrived, isn’t all that perfect without someone to share it with. Either way the wind blows, Cousins has you covered.

“As someone who spends a significant portion of their time alone, I really wanted to write a song about how it’s not all bad. The original version is very solo Randy Newman-style but, after recording it that way, I wondered if it wouldn’t be a riot to make a Nick Lowe-esque version in contrast. So, we went for it,” Cousins explains. “The new record is flanked by the two renditions of this song which gives a view from more than one angle. I think the emotional experience will depend on who is listening to what rendition, but it’s important to me that both versions exist. It represents the duality that runs through the whole record. Maybe it’s my Gemini Moon.”