I’d never heard of Melanie Rogers’ until this single release “Fever”. She’s spent the bulk of her time performing for a certain kind of audience, the Contemporary Christian crowd, and often in church-specific venues, but painful experiences have led her to begin writing and performing secular material for the first time. She had been writing for herself and performing material written by others before now, but “Fever” demonstrates without question that she has the needed talent to turn her own life into a musical act. This important diversification of her skills breeds opportunities for her that would be otherwise unavailable. She proves, as well, her gifts as a songwriter are as formidable as her vocal skills.
“Fever” doesn’t mince words. Rogers did get some help with the songwriting from producer Jesse Field, but there’s still no question the particular turns of phrase she seizes upon and the experiences discussed are all her own. It is easy to imagine her continuing to evolve with further self-penned tracks. Her long experience singing traditional religious songs alongside Contemporary Christian material has given her the needed finesse to put her thoughts forward in a modern yet musically timeless fashion.
It is difficult to believe that Rogers once believed she couldn’t apply herself to music such as this. She thought that any music failing to praise God was a mistake she, as a believer, could not allow herself to make, but events in her life and her evolving response to those changes have freed her from that line of thinking. She tackles the lyrics with unwavering confidence. If she experiences any continuing case of nerves performing secular material, I don’t hear it. She turns in a very self-assured vocal from the first line on.
Rogers weaves the composition together with a sure hand. There are some contributions from her producer Jesse Field, but it’s pure pleasure to hear how she stamps the track with so much personality. It is unquestionably her moment. “Fever” provides her with the opportunity to allow her vocal talents to take full flight and she does so while likewise enjoying the cathartic release this song brings to her.
The guitar playing is spot on from its introduction through the song’s end. It is unusual, at least a little, to catch such top-flight playing in an obviously commercial single such as this, but it’s just another marker of the consideration Rogers pays to her material. She definitely aspires to the song reaching the widest possible audience, but she likewise wants to leave listeners with a song that holds up under repeated hearings rather than some sweet confection you forget after one or two spins.
There’s no question she’ll do it again too. I think it is safe to say Rogers will be looking to write much, if not all, of her own material moving forward from here. If not, she should consider it. It brings a sharper edge to her performance few of her contemporaries can hope to compete with. “Fever” feels like her first step in the direction of even bigger moments to come.