Three exquisite singles at the end of 2020 saw Chloe Rodgers enter the fray with an assured and confident grip on what a pop star can be in the 2020s.
Debut ‘A Delphian Lullaby’ in September was a delight; creative baroque pop songwriting meeting masterful production with consummate skill and control. ‘Faces’ a month later was ethereal and electronic, with a string quartet, piano and brass building an exquisite, layered experience. Lyrics revealed hidden depths with each listen, yet remaining mysterious and obscure, a nod to her biggest inspiration Thom Yorke.
Third single ‘The Algea’ was released in December. Drawing on the Algea from Greek mythology (three goddesses that embody pain and suffering), she used them as symbols of the exploitation of women by men.
“I was definitely being over dramatic giving it that name,” she says. “It was just about being a naive teenager looking for love but getting used by older dudes that knew exactly what they were doing.”
Rodgers’ throwaway description of the song belies its emotional weight, with a vocal that’s part Billie Eilish whisper, part Billie Holiday emotion. When the vocals come in, buoyed by a beautiful staccato string section, it’s like the sun bursting through the clouds. Truly spine-tingling.
Lyrically, the song moves from being trapped by the male gaze…
“It’s no use to pretend
That I can be
More than my body.”
… to a sense of outrage and strength as it builds to a crescendo, the strings joined by horns and rising drums:
“Who on earth are you to tell me what I’m worth?
I’m not here for you to hurt.”
Through local live performances and a presence on YouTube, Rodgers caught the attention of producer and composer Anders Källmark, who included her as the main vocal component in Twenty Committee, a Scandinavian-UK project featuring a rotating cast of songwriters and performers. This eventually resulted in an album’s worth of music, which was released in 2020, two notable moments worth checking out from the single releases are ‘In A Rush’ and ‘Something New.’
But it’s her three solo singles that show a brand new artist who seemed to arrive fully formed, in sound and in image. And she has a string of new songs ready to go in 2021, too.
There is so much promise here. So much to look forward to.
Latest single, ‘The Algea’ is out now on Crowds and Power – available to Stream/Purchase here.
Photo Credit: Silvija Gec