Melanie Rogers’ new single “Fever” begins with synthesizers setting the stage for everything that follows. She soon brings guitar and drumming into play and both of those instruments have an appealing “live” quality rather than sounding like pre-programmed fodder. Listeners find themselves surrounded by the potent mix of sound and voice throughout the track, but Rogers is canny enough to build an assortment of peaks and valleys into the track demonstrating her understanding of how dynamics shape a song and influence our reactions. It’s especially ideal considering the song’s subject matter of that time when once fiery romantic relationship cools before its inevitable extinguishment. It’s a track she’s lived and invokes the heartache in her voice without ever succumbing to melodrama or bathos.
That fact alone marks her as someone unique on the current music scene. She is someone clearly looking to satisfy herself first and foremost and, with any luck and more than a little skill, bring an ever-growing audience along for the ride. That’s the barometer for any true artist. Despite her relative inexperience, though she’s been playing piano since five years old and guitar since eleven, it’s obvious she’s intent on creating songs that last, stand the test of time, rather than forgotten by the time something new comes along.
The sinewy economy of the lyrics is a good fit for the song’s melodies. She deserves further kudos for embracing a vocal melody that does more than simply follow the instrumentation, but instead works in a sort of dance with the guitar and percussion. It isn’t difficult, however, to find yourself as equally bewitched by the guitar playing as you are by Rogers’ vocal. The six-string contributions to the track sport an understated flourish and nimble elegance that many will notice from the first.
Rogers’ voice is rife with breathy atmospherics throughout the song and she shows better than average power, all without any obvious post-production assistance or studio gimmickry, during the song’s chorus. She never lays those breathy atmospherics on too thick, thankfully, and the artful restraint she exercises throughout the entirety of “Fever” serves the song well. The length does as well – she’s mastered the finer points of making a condensed musical and lyrical statement instead of wallowing in self-indulgence and overstatement.
The lyric is a model of understatement. She writes about heated physical attraction and chemistry that proves to be nothing more than that soon enough with the convincing matter-of-the-fact language. There are no high flown flights of fancy weighing the track down. The press materials for the new single-make clear she’s writing about the subject from personal experience but it never feels too intimate or obscure. She’s accomplished another thing all great songwriters do – she makes the private-public with sensitivity and a profound sense of something at stake. You don’t doubt a word she sings. She was studying at one time to be a therapist, but with any luck, she will keep pursuing music – singular voices and talents such as this don’t come along often enough these days. “Fever” is a soulful track that defies easy labels yet has clear commercial appeal.
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