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R.U.O.K. by Melanie Rogers

Something as universally relatable as music must, unfortunately, come in the concept of a shared relationship (be it platonic or romantic) that ultimately must end for the betterment of both parties involved; just about everyone has gone through the motions of cutting ties with someone that grows into a ghostlike figure from their past, and the shared experience ironically ultimately makes people feel more together through mutual sadness than it makes them feel apart. This very topic is tackled head-on in the new Melanie Rogers single “R.U.O.K.,” and while the song’s stylized title might feel wrapped in levity, the song’s content offers up more emotional catharsis than you might initially expect.

“R.U.O.K.” opens with a somber piano before Rogers’ restrained, gentle vocals join in while soft percussion accentuates the smoothness of the verses; in contrast, the chorus explodes with emotion and throws caution and the previously-established restraint to the wind. The balance between the verses and chorus makes for a widely enjoyable and catchy track, with Rogers’ backing vocals keeping harmony in a beautifully layered structure.

The ties to faith-based music that Rogers has in her past give immense emotional weight and context to the aching lyrics, as she has turned a corner in her professional life but still feels attached to the church in a personal way. There’s a density to Rogers’ delivery and aching composure when she cries out “I know I’m not allowed to reach out, no, I’m not supposed to care now but a part of me worries every day.” The haunted mentality carried throughout the track contemplates the decision made by Rogers to stay distant, and the psyche of the words sung packs a punch. The stylization of the title unexpectedly throws the initially expected tone off, in a way, since it feels tongue in cheek in its spelling, but this minor gripe pales in light of the track’s core values.

Melanie Rogers taps into that beautiful, yet immensely painful, experience that most can relate to with ease and there’s no discerning what her future holds as a musician as a result. Her songs still to come will undoubtedly feature similarly haunted production and lyrics, but she’s described her branching out from religious music as a way to experiment with sounds and musical textures dissimilar to that specific area of music: “I love the reality that for the first time I am giving myself permission to write and produce whatever I want, especially breaking out of my earlier belief that the only songs I should be writing are about either God or a future husband. It’s fun to write weird songs and play with all sorts of sounds.”

The untapped potential of Rogers’ prospective career will bring a great array of topics and sounds to the forefront of her sharp lyrical focus, and “R.U.O.K.” serves as a crucial step for her as an up-and-coming artist in regards to staking her claim in her future, especially with a past as storied as her own.

Photo Credit: Mandee Rae

Mindy McCall

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