Maggie Rogers’ popularity has been on a steady incline ever since the viral video that captured Pharrell Williams’ bewildered reaction, which almost brought him to tears, after listening to her song “Alaska”. Almost two and a half years of hard work later, Rogers has released her first studio album, called “Heard It In A Past Life”. “Alaska” would later become one of the first singles for the album. Only one EP and several singles of her’s had been released before this, some that were included in the album, and a few that were not.
Overall, “Head It In A Past Life” features a lot of variation in style and genre, a choice that garnered split opinions. Some thought the variation was simply too much, making the album seem lacking in its sense of direction. Some, myself included, believed the varied styles between songs were a representation of the shift Rogers felt while making the album. Each song elaborates on moments of her journey from NYU student to full-fledged stardom in what seemed to be such a short period of time.
This story Rogers tells throughout the album is most prominent in the lyrics of “Past Life”. The song lies right in the middle of the album, the sixth track of the 12-track opus. With nothing but a piano and vocals, it is difficult not to feel a sort of intimacy with Rogers as she pours her heart out in the midst of her changing life; knowing a new life is coming for her, and watching her old life fall away in pieces. The rest of Side A holds the darker-sounding songs of the album, such as “Overnight” and “The Knife”, leaning mostly on their gritty loops and uber punchy drums. It also has tracks like “Alaska” and “Give A Little”, showcasing Rogers’ background as a folk singer. She creates a unique mix in these songs with her singer-songwriter verses and impressive production skills.
After “Past Life”, Side B kicks off with “Say It”, a song that seemed to stand out the most from all of the others. It reminds me of something I would have heard constant playing on the radio in the very early 2000’s, riding in the back seat while my mom drives, playing top RnB hits. Then comes my absolute favorite tracks on the album, “Retrograde” and “Burning”. I love the bubbling synths and the drum beats that make dancing to them come naturally. The album has its end with “Back In My Body”, which sounds like if the BORNS and Bon Iver’s self-titled album had a baby. Lyrically, it served to conclude the album well, recapping where she had been and knowing now that she is right where she should be.
There are small bits of this album I wish were different; but as a whole piece, I think the album was incredibly well done. I hope that there is so much more to come from Maggie Rogers in the future; and until then, you can find me listening to this album on repeat for the rest of 2019.