Final score: 9.2/10
Ahgrim: Rogers coined the phrase “wild joy” to describe the dominant theme of “abandonment”.
I’m sure this will be described by other reviewers as an escape record, given that joy feels like an act of rebellion or even dissociation these days. But it’s clear to me that Rogers’ work was born out of a desire to engage with the world more deeply and more thoughtfully, to throw in head first, not to leave it behind.
“Surrender” is a complete album – sweaty, full of stains and bruises, but strong and graceful at its core.
It’s music that makes me think of the humidity and feeling your heartbeat at your fingertips, like a summer night in New York. Chances are you’ll go through the full gamut of human emotions in a matter of hours, only to return home sore and happy.
These nights remind me how strange and miraculous it is to be alive; how gross the human body can be while functioning as a complex set of invisible muscles, nerves and impulses; how impressive it is to carry on despite constant tragedy.
“Surrender” shares the same effect. Rogers, who single-handedly wrote every word on this album, is a passionate and sensitive lyricist. She imbues every moment of freedom and liberation with an existential dread: a mother’s death lurks in the middle of her song about female friendship; amidst a whirlwind of happy 80s synths, the phrase “I’m scared” is frantically repeated five times. His vocal delivery is visceral, making every hint of emotion feel big and immediate.
But the beauty is that it also works in reverse. None of Rogers’ songs are just one thing. None are purely sad, desperate or fearful. There is always a whisper of hope, a sun that will rise tomorrow.
At its core, “Surrender” is what it feels like to be happy against the odds.
Larocque: Earlier this week, at an album release party with Spotify, Rogers said she “knew I wanted to do a classic record and I wanted to spend some time really digging into making one.”
“Surrender” cannot be categorized as one thing; it’s not a sad album, a happy album or an angry album, nor a breakup album or a romantic album. Instead, it’s a kaleidoscopic mix of all of the above – without ever feeling inauthentic or forced, overcrowded or cluttered.
Rogers surrendered to every ounce of emotion pulsing through her mind and body and infused every last drop of it into this record. All his instincts – from sexual urges (“Want Want”) to the call of the void (“I could break a glass just to see it break”) – are laid bare for listeners to co-opt.
Throughout “Surrender”, Rogers champions the idea that life is communal, that everything we feel is, at some point, felt by someone else too, and we’re usually better off for that. . Rogers has no interest in a fruitless quest for unique experiences – if she’s going to lose her mind, she’s going to lose it with you.
But it was this embrace of mutual understanding and commonality that helped Rogers succeed in his efforts to create a classic album. Almost all of the songs on “Surrender” play well on their own, but still lend themselves to live performance. I can imagine a crowd collectively shouting “Begging for Rain” or shouting “Honey”. I’m willing to bet “Anywhere With You” will become a mainstay on every set list Rogers does in the future.
With “Surrender”, Rogers has done something that will fucking last.
To listen :
“This Is Where I Am”
“Anywhere With You”
“Ask for Rain”
“I have a friend”
“Different Kinds of World”
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*Final album score based on songs per category (1 point for “Worth listening”, 0.5 for “Background music”, 0.5 for “Split decision”, 0 for “Press skip”).