Gemma Rogers’ latest track ‘Song For The Cities’ berates the state of the nation but offers an anthem of hope.
Gemma Rogers – Song For The Cities
Following hot off the 2 Tone skanking, drunken heels of previous single ‘My Idea Of Fun’, from debut album ‘No Place Like Home’ an album described by BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq as “cheeky but perceptive” Londoner Gemma Rogers releases ‘Song For The Cities’ the titular lead single from her upcoming sophomore album.
Described as ‘a sort of anthemic version of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” updated for contentious times in the 21st Century but celebrating urban unity’, the track is reminiscent of Squeeze, pitting a New wave chug with dextrous, caustic, keen-eyed, kitchen sink lyrics adding a sweet aspirational pop chorus. The whole thing is shot through with a sense of yearning for the loss of Albion, “Brexit was for breakfast but the eggs were out of date “, like a Billy Brag collab with Lily Allen.
What Rogers’ latest track shows is her continuing ability to construct a collage of modern Britain through a musical mix of genres and traditions.
The verses paint a bleak Us and Them portrait of modern Britain, desecrated by politics with grotesque MPs “grey and flaccid with gout” and us as “lab rats for the medicine get sick for a healthy fee”. The chorus sees a chance to unite and escape, dreaming of a better place and seeking solidarity in the depths of desperation: “This is the song that will get us through the fight”. After the lightly strummed, wistful middle-eight, there is a hope and belief in a brighter day in the form of a plea – “Bring me Sunshine” – interpolating 60’s wide-eyed, glistening harmonies with the comforting top-hatted vaudeville of Morecombe and Wise from a bygone age.
“Your community are the support network that will have your back when the people in power don’t. I see it time and time again. It’s a song about the importance of unity. A celebration of the good ones.”
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Words Andrew Gutteridge