‘Uphill Battle’ – Rozzi

All women, once all the pretence and perfection has been shed, like mascara running off wet eyes, are full of contradictions and complexities that go beyond the mantle of being “a difficult woman”.

We are neither good nor bad; virginal or slutty; nice or bitchy; easy or difficult; strong or weak; we are all those things and everything in between. It is easy in the age instant perfection (Instagram) and 280 characters (Twitter) to only see one side of someone, or perhaps only choose to see that particular side and no more. When in fact we are all incredibly complex, contradictory and messy, which is beautiful in and of itself.

I’m not the girl that you thought you were getting

I’m way more complex, yeah I got them sharp edges

I’m solid as ice, oh

But I break all the time

Rozzi puts this dichotomy to verse in ‘Uphill Battle’, co-written with Mike Eyal Aljadeff, her first single off her untitled upcoming album on Small Giant/Columbia Records. The song is stripped down and feels both skeleton like in its vulnerability with the piano and sparse percussion but also full in its lyrical content with Rozzi’s deep vocals and reverberating bass line.

I cried on your shoulder right there in the kitchen

Our friends in the next room, so close they could listen

And I don’t know why

I laugh when I cry

The piano mimics footsteps throughout the song. This instrumental mimesis carries the track, providing the backbone in which the bass, drums and keyboards cling to.

‘Uphill Battle’ is a steady build, the instrumentation expanding with each chorus, and then contracting again with each verse. As the song reaches the final pre-chorus, all the instrumentation is stripped away until it is only the piano and Rozzi’s vocals left in the room. Then suddenly, like the switch of a blade, the volume goes up and her vocals become that much more determined, that much more defiant, and the sparse yet full arrangement fills your ears.

Each chorus up until the last is delivered in Rozzi’s distinct deep yet breakable voice, slightly unsure, slightly apologetic for being who she is. “But if I was a different girl, it’d be simpler, that’s for sure.” As if she’s saying, if I was different, if only I was lighter, less intense, everything would be easier, simpler and ultimately, I would be more easily loved. There’s a sadness that weaves into ‘Uphill Battle’, a bittersweet-ness of acceptance despite the rough edges and the rawness.

If I were a different girl

Yeah, it’d be simpler, that’s for sure

But you know you wouldn’t get the sparks from the clash, the high from the crash

The curse and the kiss, they will make this thing last

Rozzi has said the song comes from her overly-analytical nature. “It can be hard to care intensely, to love intensely, to want intensely,” she wrote. “Some days I wish I could just let it all go – but that’s not who I am. For better or worse, I think this song might be the best description of myself I’ve ever written.”

‘Uphill Battle’ is an anthem for those of us who run hot and cold, who feel things more deeply than the rest.

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