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  • Karlee Skipper

EP Review: "By My Side" - Penny Roox

Penny Roox By My Side Cover Art

Penny Roox mesmerizes audiences with her newly released EP, By My Side. The alt-pop soundscape transports the listener to a dreamy atmosphere. Her ethereal vocals are reminiscent of folk-pop legends such as Lana Del Rey and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. From personal stories to narratives experienced by those close to her, Roox connects with her listeners through emotional lyrics that come straight from the heart. Her poetic lyricism and whimsical instrumentation captivate them from the very first song and stay with them until the last.


Track List

By My Side

Baby Blue

Pop Song

Garden Of Eden

When This All Ends


Roox is a Dutch alt-pop singer-songwriter. She made her debut in 2021 with her single, “Mean”. The stunning track garnered well-deserved airplay on Dutch and Belgian national radio. Then, in 2022 she released her EP, House On The Moon. In the three years since her debut, she has made impressive waves in the industry, performing at notable venues and opening for recognizable names. In 2023, she was selected for the Popronde, a traveling festival for upcoming Dutch musicians. Roox’s style is a beautiful blend of alternative pop, jazz, and folk, drawing influence from both the modern era and classic artists. From Ella Fitzgerald and Elvis Presley to Joni Mitchell and Lana Del Rey, Roox has found inspiration across all genres, creating her own iconic sound.


By My Side

Roox kickstarts the project with the title track. “By My Side” immediately propels the listener into the stunning soundscape. The instant she began singing, Lana Del Rey's sultry-soft influence became evident. The beautiful orchestral intro transforms into a soothing melody led by subtle percussion, beautiful strings, and a delicate piano. Meanwhile, Roox’s voice guides the listener through the wistful storyline. “By My Side” shares the story of “a summer love that ended in tragedy.” The song details a whirlwind romance that occurred in the 80s between her late aunt and her aunt's lover—before Roox was even born. Tragically, the lover was killed in a motorcycle accident. “By My Side” contains lyrics told from her aunt’s perspective where she pictures her life before this heartbreak, when her muse was still alive. She tells him: “Every day I’ll keep you by my side// I close my eyes and try to picture you alive// The sizzling heat at this time of year makes me think of you.”  This brings to light the notion that your first love will always stick with you—even through death. With Roox’s captivating storytelling and heavenly vocals, “By My Side” was the perfect song to kick off the flawless project.



Baby Blue

“Baby Blue” begins instantaneously with Roox’s stunning voice and a soft guitar to introduce the listener to the melancholic message. The lyrics describe a special kind of heartbreak—one that happens slowly over time. And one day you wake up and realize that the love has expired. Roox describes the one thing that makes the narrator hold on—her lover’s baby blue eyes. In the pre-chorus, she introduces this with the lyrics: “But we meet eyes// The noise, it dies// They make me forget all of this.” The moment she catches their gaze, all her doubts fade away. She becomes transfixed by the ocean eyes that she initially fell in love with. “Baby Blue” is a unique storyline that showcases the inevitable fall of a relationship that is still hanging on by a thread, highlighting Roox’s remarkable songwriting.



Pop Song

The melancholic atmosphere continues with the soft piano ballad and stunning vocals. The production contains only these two elements for the first verse and chorus, establishing the gut-wrenching storyline. The extra sounds of the piano being played were kept in, enhancing the intimate vibe of the song. In the second verse, a soothing synth beat and electric guitar are added, slowly met by a subtle drum. The gradual build of the instrumentation accentuates the passion in the lyrics, as the story becomes more intricate and heart-wrenching with each stanza. The final chorus decreases back down to the initial soundscape, bringing the track full circle. Roox describes a relationship that always comes back for more, like a hit pop song that continues to play on the radio even after the hype dies down. No matter what she does to avoid this song, it will always find its way back to her. Roox’s clever metaphor is another excellent example of her undeniable songwriting talent.



Garden Of Eden

“Garden Of Eden” contains a more optimistic and whimsical vibe than the previous tracks. With a dazzling alt-rock and indie-pop blend, the track instantly caught my attention. The well-rounded song has a sultry vibe that complements the singer’s soulful voice while creating a soft rock soundscape that effortlessly resonates with her audience. The song shares a more hopeful message. One about a love that is a safe haven, a paradise—like the Garden of Eden. While the other tracks are woeful and grim, the fourth song does not share this theme. Roox reflects this with the infectious soundscape, making it an instant fan favorite.



When This All Ends

The final track sees the return of the somber atmosphere with a gorgeous ballad. The unique intro captured my attention as Roox’s beautiful voice sang the lyrics while stunning harmonies hummed in the background. This transitions into a classic indie-rock style with a soft piano and delicate guitar in the chorus, before decreasing to the piano in the verse. Roox’s vocal range is showcased, with stunning high notes and the use of her lower register. She chose to close the project with the most beautiful and intricate production, earning its spot as my personal favorite. From the vulnerable lyrics to the genre-blending sounds, “When This All Ends” is the perfect ending to a flawless EP.



By My Side by Penny Roox packs a big punch for a smaller project. The singer has beautifully crafted an unforgettable EP filled with wonder, love, and loss. From the tragic story of the title track to the complex instrumental build of “Pop Song”, the project has something for everyone. Roox’s magnificent voice astonishes listeners, from her steady vocal control to the passion they display. Alongside her meaningful lyrics and beautiful production, the singer's undeniable talent keeps them wanting more. Make sure to follow Roox on all social media platforms to remain up-to-date with any new releases and announcements!



Written By Karlee Skipper


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