‘New World Order is about trying to make sense of the shape-shifting world we live in’. – Gemma Rogers.
It’s fair to say that, of late, London-based singer, Gemma Rogers is having a busy time. After a phenomenally hectic 2022 (including the release of her EP, ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ – joyfully covered by Joyzine back in January), 2023 sees Gemma currently touring the UK (including a set at Glastonbury and opening for Paolo Ntini), alongside releasing a new single on July 17th called ‘New World Order’ (available to listen on YouTube from July 21st). According to the official press release, the song covers ‘three and a half minutes of social observation as a sunshine ska tip of the hat to all of London’s political music legends’. Sounds intriguing! We asked Gemma to elaborate further.
Gemma: ‘I wrote it while living as a guardian in a massive, old, dilapidated launderette. Twelve of us lived there and we spent lockdown together. Everyone had a Covid hangover’.
Joyzine: ‘How did some of the lyrics come together?
Gemma: ‘The lyrics came before the music. “Grandpa snoring” means being stuck at home with nothing to do. The “New World Order” refers to a tangible shift in the rules imposed on us by the powers that be. “Voiceless people screaming out”. Bizarrely in a world of unlimited communication, politics feels ever less influenced by the people it’s obligated to serve. “I think about the lies. Who’s telling them?”. There’s a lot of paranoia in the song as there was in the world during lockdown. Do you really know everyone you know, sort of thing. I revisited the lyrics and updated a few of them in view of current legislations “Protests shutdown.”’.
So, onward to the review. We begin with a soft ska rhythm, accompanied by a cool, dreamy synth intro. It’s not long before Gemma’s trademark vocals kick in and her lyrics flow effortlessly with the music. In some ways, this reminds me of listening to Madness, The Specials, Ian Dury, et al, back in the day, when they engaged in delivering inspiring social commentaries upon the world, as they saw it happening around them. Gemma provides exactly that same edge with her words in a contemporary setting. This is music to make you think. Music that asks you to open your eyes and become aware of life going on around you, both locally and globally. Welcome food for the voracious mind and soul.
In terms of musicality, everything is tight and very structured. Production levels are spot on and Gemma’s fabulous vocals are easily heard/understood, helping to express her inner thoughts and feelings with cognitive punchiness.
As Gemma so eloquently puts it, ‘…the difficulties many (not all) of us face with the rising cost of living. As with all the songs, ‘New World Order’ is about trying to make sense of the shape-shifting world we live in’.
GEMMA’S WEBSITE: https://www.gemmarogersmusic.com/
GEMMA’S BANDCAMP COMMUNITY: https://gemmarogersx.bandcamp.com/community
Review by Kevin J. Milsom