“Rose Rouge” by Jorja Smith
This is the cover of a song that was originally released by a musician named St. Germain in 2000. At its original inception, it reads as if it is a dance song. And likewise in this rendition Jorja Smith is calling on the listener to “put your hands together”. However, in this case she is apparently alluding to prayer as opposed to hand clapping. Or as she puts it, she wants ‘help praying for the singer from the ghetto’.
At the beginning of the song, she also mentions “a sinner of love”, which comes off as somewhat of an esoteric statement. But what can be concluded is that unlike the original version, Jorja Smith’s take on “Rose Rouge”, a song which is highly-dependent on lyrical repetition, is also infused with religious connotations. And considering that the lyrics are indeed repetitive and the words “Rose Rouge” never actually mentioned within them, what exactly the title means is also a bit of a mystery.
This track can be found on a compilation album entitled “Blue Note Re:imagined”. Interestingly, Blue Note is also the name of the label which the original “Rose Rouge” was published under.
St Germain himself derived part of the wording of this song from a 1973 track by a singer named Marlena Shaw entitled “Woman of the Ghetto”. So that would also likely be the inspiration for Jorga Smith’s reference to “the ghetto”.
St Germain (real name Ludovic Navarre) is credited as the writer of “Rose Rogue”.
Germain’s original version came out in May 2000 whereas Jorja’s came out in June 2020.