“R.U.O.K.” is Melanie Rogers’ powerful follow-up to her most recent single “Fever” and features many of the same individuals responsible for the latter song’s success. Jesse Field’s production, mastering, and engineering has an obvious effect on this track. The even-handed treatment of the song’s several instruments, including Rogers’ voice, is one of the chief strengths of the new single. Piano lines swirl over the top while the rhythm section tandem of Remy Morrit and Adam Schaefer, drums and bass respectively, maintains a robust pulse for the song’s duration.
The keen-eared length of “R.U.O.K.” wins you over as well. It is a testament to Rogers’ talent that she’s capable of exploring a subject such as “lingering empathy overload” in a condensed comprehensive space. Morrit stands out in the arrangement because the drums clearly set the tone for “R.U.O.K.” – surprisingly authoritative yet inviting all the same. Much of the song’s warmth is due to her vocals, naturally, but radiant piano surrounds the song with an effervescent glow. Its uplifting musical mood and polished presentation give the track enormous commercial potential.
It comes without sacrificing a shred of artistic integrity. The latter quality is essential for any successful song – artistic integrity manifests itself even as a dedication to crafting a quality commercial product free of meaning. We aren’t dealing with that here, however. Melanie Rogers’ lyrics, her line-by-line vocal phrasing, and the obvious attention to detail she’s lavished on the track, are signatures of an artist.
Those aforementioned lyrics are strong. No one can ever accuse Rogers of writing simple love songs alone as this track tackles the unusual topic of coping with the aftermath of hearing other people’s problems. This can, for some, amount to a traumatic experience lingering long after the encounter ends. “R.U.O.K.” addresses the subject with sensitivity and intelligence. Her lyrics are meant to compliment the music, but they are never fragmentary or overwrought,
Melanie Rogers’ life is moving in a much different direction than she imagined only a few years ago. The Santa Barbara native’s lifelong focus on her life in the church and applying her music talents towards Christian Contemporary alone ended when a leadership change forced her out of her then-church family. Rogers re-examined many facets of her life and continues to but one near-immediate change resulted in her musical dreams.
She once believed writing or singing about anything but her connection to God constituted a disservice. In the wake of departing her church, however, it’s clear Rogers feels emboldened to draw from her life as she sees fit and the payoff is huge. She has the potential to be a transformative artist. Her musical vision is fully realized, she writes with palpable confidence, and chooses her musical partners well. There’s no limit where she can go from here. “R.U.O.K.” is one of 2021’s best singles. It is only a matter of time until Rogers dares the public waters with a longer release, either an EP or LP. Perhaps she will continue writing and releasing singles. Time will tell.
Photo Credit: Mandee Rae