“Fever” by Melanie Rogers

It is a testament to the content of Melanie Rogers’ character that, when confronted with personal injustice from her church community, she did not let it defeat her. “Fever”, her latest single and songwriting debut, sounds like nothing less than liberation. Even if she’s singing about a lesser than happy episode in her life when a budding and seemingly promising romantic relationship turned out to be nothing more than an infatuation that soon petered out, Rogers commands your attention from her first word to the last. Such self-possession is a young vocalist is uncanny. She started playing music at five years old learning the piano and became a multi-instrumentalist with the introduction of the guitar into her musical vocabulary when she was eleven years old. Her easy talent with making music come alive is evident throughout the track and, despite its essentially downbeat subject matter, there’s an exultant air to the song that’s impossible to deny.

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She gains a lot from superb backing music. The gripping guitar sound she achieves for the song is a key component of what drives its appeal. It creates a dance between the guitar and singing that sweeps listeners into its world from the outset. Opening with synthesizer color sets the stage for what follows without ever overpowering the track but plays a restrained role for most of “Fever”. Rogers and the people she’s working with have a great understanding of how to incorporate a live traditional instrumental sound with electronic-driven parts like the aforementioned synth contributions. It helps her music a great deal.

There’s a strong bluesy tone in her vocals for this song. I have not heard any previous releases, but it is apparent that Rogers has an adaptable style she can mold to any style she’s asked to interpret. Such singers are rare. She takes an even-handed approach to transition from the verses into a forceful chorus; she doesn’t bring down the full fury of her voice to bring the chorus to life and, instead, tailors her voice as close to the accompanying instruments as possible. The project may be released under her name, but Rogers always works hard to sing with the music rather than imposing her will on the song.

The lyrics never mince words. Her focus is laser-tight and unrelenting without ever placing too much muscle behind the writing. It is impossible not to notice how she portrays the relationship at the heart of the song in deft strokes that her vocals deepen with their emotional tenor. She knows how to get to the heart of the matter and it will be a skill she continues to improve on with every new release from this point onward, There’s no discernible limit to what she can accomplish. “Fever” is one of the earliest signals of how there’s likely nothing she can’t do, and we need to follow her from here if we value hearing some of the best modern pop music. A talent this potent will be around for many years to come. 

Michael Rand

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