Even with a mere handful of singles out in the world, Nottingham songwriter Chloe Rodgers has already proven herself as a stand out voice. With vocal dexterity that can float across grandiose orchestration or lead the charge on a powerful pop song, she always rivets from first note to last. Unafraid to expose the core of her being through her lyricism, either coming at it directly or using grandiose metaphors, the wisdom in her words belies her youth.
Chloe has done us the pleasure of picking five of her most lyrically meaningful songs for the latest edition of On Deck. As a evocative lyricist herself, it’s perhaps unsurprising that she’s chosen some of the most imagistic writers around – the ones that give you a sense of their emotion, but leave plenty open to interpretation. See what she’s come up with below, but first enjoy her spectacular single “Faces”.
Radiohead – “No Surprises”
I don’t even fully understand what this song is about, as far as I can tell it’s just about the hum drum of daily life and its ups and downs (mostly downs), but I could be wrong. Nonetheless it is packed full of imagery that I just love. The opening line “a heart that’s full up like a landfill” gets me straight away – I feel that!! I also love the line “I’ll take a quiet life, a handshake of carbon monoxide”… I can’t even explain why I think that’s such a brilliant line. The lyrics just make it sound like Thom just feels overwhelmed by life sometimes, and I can strongly relate.
Towards the end of the song he sings “such a pretty house and such a pretty garden,” which has no context or clear link to any of the other lyrics, which I also just adore for some reason. He sings it in such an emotional way… I don’t know whether this could be sort of a reflection on the good parts of his life and feelings of guilt for still struggling emotionally despite being so lucky, or whether it’s something else entirely, but I just love his lyrics.
Rozi Plain – “Actually”
[Lost Map; 2015]
This song is just beautiful in so many ways. It’s another one I’m a bit unclear on the meaning of, but I think it’s another one about general life. Rozi’s voice is so calming. My favourite lyric from this song is “what kind of hours do you keep? / What kind of quality is your sleep?” She sings it so casually, but those words just show so much care and love for others and it gets me every time.
Whiskey Moon Face – “Dead Dog”
Another song I am totally in love with. Proper gypsy tune. It’s about having strong feelings someone, and the lyricist (Louisa Jones I believe) expresses this in such a unique way. The opening line is “I wish I was the lice in your hair,” which is such a weird way of expressing affection. The ‘chorus’ of sorts, or title verse, sings “there’s a dead dog in your bed / you can’t sleep in your bed / cos there’s a dead dog in your bed”, which I interpret as a really eccentric excuse to persuade someone to come and spend the night with you. Another cute one is “I don’t wanna die before you, you don’t wanna die before me / so let’s jump off a cliff.” Just love it.
Bon Iver – “re:stacks”
This is an other beautiful song that gives me so much nostalgia. I discovered it in the summer holidays after I finished school and used to sneak out of my house at night and go on long walks listening to songs like this on repeat. My favourite lyric in this one is “your love will be safe with me.” I just think that is so beautiful, but at the same time it breaks my heart because I don’t think it can ever really be true. Loving always results in being hurt in one way or another.
Fatboy Slim – “Praise You”
This song is so feel good. The words “I have to celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should”* are just so sweet. The vibe of the whole song makes me happy.
[*sampled from Camille Yarbrough’s “Take Yo’ Praise” – Rob]