Every once in a while you stumble across a song that is not only a tool for entertaining, but a tool for understanding. Some of the best songs in the Western canon are those which not only lift our spirits but offer a gentle, guiding hand in how we think about and live our lives. One artist that does a tremendous job of hitting this sweet spot is Philadelphia’s The Still, Small Voice. Taking its name from a Bible passage in which the prophet Elijah hears the voice of God as ‘a still small voice,’ the band is the project of singer-songwriter Christiana Benton. On Tuesday June 9, they released their newest single “Roller Rink” ahead of a forthcoming yet-to-be-named record which is due later this year via Know Hope Records.
“‘Roller Rink’ is a coming-of-age song about reflecting on your youth and childhood insecurity only to realize you ended up exactly where you were meant to be,” Benton told American Songwriter.
The lyrics of ‘Roller Rink’ really do strike a personal and vulnerable chord. Throughout the tune Benton recalls the difficult, life-defining moments of her youth, offers advice to her future daughter and leaves the listener with an astoundingly reassuring final line: “the best is yet to come.” The palpable imagery achieved through making references to exact events and moments from her life allows Benton to transcend her personal experiences and speak to a universal truth. While the listener may not have an exact idea of what went down at the roller rink all those years ago, they do get a pretty vivid impression of what it felt like, and that feeling is something which is uniformly relatable.
All this, of course, is significantly augmented by the song’s gorgeous minimalistic arrangement. With lightly strumming acoustics and a hauntingly angelic pedal steel part, the song sounds like the musical personification of a memory. In particular, the pedal steel solo halfway through the song resonates like an exact musical depiction of what it feels like to be nostalgic about something.
The end result is a song that is as specifically intimate as it is globally relevant. Benton’s voice — both in terms of her vocal performance and her lyrical content — carries a complex inwardness and a confident outwardness. Going on Benton’s journey alongside her, line-by-line, one can’t help but feel the joy and hope that the last line of the song delivers.
Listen to The Still, Small Voice’s new single “Roller Rink” below: