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Emma Ogier’s Debut Single "First Base" Gives Fans a New Indie-Pop Girl to Become Obsessed With

By Kristen Hawley | 13 July, 2023

I’m not usually one for country music. I don’t particularly gravitate towards it – even the current genre headlining performers aren’t intriguing to me. But after hearing Emma Ogier’s debut single, “First Base,” that intertwines quiet country guitar and indie-pop lyrical storytelling - my apprehensiveness was subdued. Actually, the single is a taste of what is to come from the 19 year-old, Houston-based artist, and I for one am beyond eager to hear more.

“First Base” may be Emma’s first single, but it doesn’t feel like it. Of course, it gives us a proper introduction into her psyche and emotions, but she doesn’t play it safe as many debut singles do to attract mainstream audiences. The track is rich with lyrics that are catchy, poetic, yet brutally honest. “I’m just a friend and I could pretend that I forgive you in the end, but it’s too hard/It’s just a slap in the face”.

And for a debut single, it is a brave choice to be so vulnerable with listeners. Right from the start, the guitar rhythm and flow of the track follows the lead of a folk tale being told around a fire; a quality I do admire in country music. This production choice makes every experience seem comforting and grand all at the same time.

I am incredibly impressed with the metaphor explored in the beginning of the track, correlating Emma and her love to a bunch of quarters: “If I was a payphone, you’d use me up and take some/Quarters from my bank.” Her parallel reminded me that I needed quarters for my parking meter and anxiously rummaged through my car for them, but ultimately came up short. Quarters are often overlooked. Who uses change nowadays? Credit cards and Venmo exist. Coins have a funny quirk to them because we never have them when we need them; actually we’re eager to get rid of them in the closest tip jar. But, they’re always needed and their absence becomes crystal-clear when we desperately need them. Similar to a person that is discarded as if they were dirty quarters, they may be tossed away like they have no value - but their value and love is worth more than gold. The transaction is done, you got what you want, and that person is gone: “I’m throwing quarters down the kitchen sink now/’Cause I’m something that you never even think about/Hope the drain clogs when I turn the water on.”

emma ogier rests her head on a man's lap staring into the camera
Credit: @reed_schick on Instagram

The beauty behind the song’s production is sonically it slowly transitions from country to pop, and Emma’s voice maintains a soft, indie whisper, but can channel the pop power when needed. The track is full of complexities and intricacies that make the listening experience so enjoyable.

The final line of the chorus and track title, “we’re still on first base” is a relationship grinding to a halt that tragically plagues Emma’s relationship. As anyone knows in baseball, or in a relationship, going to first base is intended to be the kick-off of going to second, third, then finishing home: a natural progression to keep going forward. But, being stuck on first base leads to frustration and friction. That trapped feeling builds into Emma’s angst and pleas to be loved sincerely . Emma’s powerful vocal performance is reminiscent of Maisie Peters or Tegan and Sara, because who doesn’t want a song that allows them to cry and scream all within three minutes?

“First Base” is a slam-dunk debut from Emma Ogier. She is sincere, expressive, and invites listeners into where she finds herself musically. As she navigates the indie space and carves a place for herself amongst Phoebe Bridgers and Lori McKenna, I am ecstatic for her debut EP to roll out and explore more of her stories as she crafts her artistic voice.


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