Carmen Rodgers - Hello Human Vol. 1 (2021)

Carmen Rodgers
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Carmen Rodgers - Hello Human Vol. 1

There are some artists who can release music in heavy torrents over a short period of time. Others prefer to spread their projects out. Carmen Rodgers falls into the latter category. Her latest project, Hello Human Vol. 1 comes six years after the very good Stargazer. Rodgers stays busy in the time that elapses between projects. She’s often working with other people, including Zo! and The Foreign Exchange. In fact, Nicolay from The Foreign Exchange is one of the producers on the EP Hello Human Vol. 1.

Carmen Rodgers - Hello Human Vol. 1

There are some artists who can release music in heavy torrents over a short period of time. Others prefer to spread their projects out. Carmen Rodgers falls into the latter category. Her latest project, Hello Human Vol. 1 comes six years after the very good Stargazer. Rodgers stays busy in the time that elapses between projects. She’s often working with other people, including Zo! and The Foreign Exchange. In fact, Nicolay from The Foreign Exchange is one of the producers on the EP Hello Human Vol. 1.

Perhaps another reason why Rodgers prefers to space her projects is to allow the previous work to get out of her system before embarking on her next project. Rodgers’ albums have a deeply personal and confessional quality to them (think 2010’s The Bitter Suite), and Hello Human Vol. 1 is another project that finds Rodgers using the songs that she penned to speak her truths about the varied aspects of relationships.

Vocally, Rodgers is well-suited to deliver tunes that require intimacy and directness of communication. She’s a one-on-one type of singer who possesses the ability to put the listener in the room as she sweetly delivers a gut punch to a someone vying for her affections on “No Good.” You almost feel bad for the guy as Rodgers explains that his feelings for her are unrequited and the only thing he will get from pursuing this relationship is a broken heart.

Rodgers also can step across the barrier and make the listener feel like she is talking directly to them. She pulls this off on the anthem “Say So,” an appeal for people to speak and live for themselves that is both hard charging -- with an arrangement that has an insistent bass line and rock influenced guitars -- and intimate in the conversational tone that Rodgers takes on the vocal.  

Rodgers talks to herself on the self-reflective track “Catching Feelings,” as she seeks to access what is happening to her while that happening. There is a lot going on in this song, just like there is a lot going on when a person is trying to determine whether to get involved in a relationship. You think about all of the things that can go right and can go wrong, and you bring your history into the relationship, something Rodgers acknowledges with the lyric “been in and out of love before/but love’s hurt me to my core/took that chance and said, no more.”

Rodgers packs a lot into an EP that includes six songs and lasts about 23 minutes, and the title Hello Human Vol. 1 hints at the possibility that Rodgers will have more to say. Whether the wait for a Vol. 2 is long or short, it will be worthwhile. Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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