I never knew what to expect from Chloe Rodgers’ new single “Bones.” Whenever I thought I understood or knew the vibe, something came around that completely threw me off. Rodgers’ vocals, soundtrack, and lyrics, while all very different, work extremely well together. Rodgers’ co-write Alex Starling said that "Bones is largely about losing someone who should have been close and being excluded from not only their life but also their death."
“Bones” begins with a musical intro, one of the longest I’ve listened to in a while. The initial drum beats stay for all fourteen seconds of the intro with additional beats joining in. They start off slow with faster beats being added on, evoking the sense that something imminent, important was about to happen. I was beginning to expect mainly instruments with the occasional vocals similar to “Lifted” by Ellyn Woods. However, once Rodgers begins with her first line “sleeping for the tenth time,” she rarely pauses.
One line that stood out to me was the paradoxical nature of her lyric: “underneath a layer of ice that could keep me warm.” While initially, it makes sense: warmth coming from being under a layer of something, like a blanket. Re-listening, Rodgers' choice of ice being that object makes little sense: ice is cold and even if the layer is thick, it still won’t keep one warm. Whether Rodgers’ lyric has a deeper meaning about hardships and connections to the message Starling states, I feel the more you think about it, the less you understand.
Rodgers' biggest inspiration is Thom Yorke. She marvels at how “You know immediately that his lyrics have hidden depths, but the deeper you dig, the further you are from getting to what they might mean.” Her understanding of Yorke’s lyrics, I feel is what I’m understanding from her lyrics: the metaphors and images she uses are really cool and seem to have a deep significance, but it’s not clear what that significance is. When I try to understand, I feel I’m grasping at straws.
Rodgers says of her lyrics: “[they] are quite political in a sort of abstract way. The darkness of it makes it so fun.” Her lyrics, especially her chorus, have a dark tone and natural imagery. The natural imagery, excluding digging up bones, give her song a more relaxing, beautiful vibe. The images of digging up bones, on the other hand, starkly contrast it with a darker, ominous vibe. Even the soundtrack, while up-beat (light), has fast, deeper beats (darker).
The song ends abruptly, similar to the abrupt new meanings and understandings that pull the carpet out from under the listeners or, at least, my feet. I thought I understood, but I never really did.
Rodgers's talent in creating such a beautifully sung and written song that is so unexpected but it’s unexpectedness never detracts from appreciating her song is amazing.
Chloe Rodgers is a singer-songwriter from Nottingham, United Kingdom. She got her start after accidentally winning Notts X Factor, leading to a series of shows and videos that got the attention of music producers. She was then a part of the Twenty Committee project. Rodger’s debut headliner concert will be taking place this November 5th at Nottingham’s Bodega. She also has an EP “Back To The Quay” out on November 26th.
Written by Anne Friedman