Releasing major label debuts is always stressful for up-and-coming artists, but it seems Maggie Rogers knew exactly what she wanted to do with her first album.
Heard It In A Past Life is a 12-track forray of Rogers and her journey of finding herself through her music. From the exciting parts of being young to the darker, more complex parts of growing up, Rogers encompasses it all.
After going through a with Pharrell Williams and subsequently blowing his mind with her song “Alaska,” Rogers gained both a critical and fan following. In fact, throughout the album, which was released on Capitol Records, the singer-songwriter examines her somewhat overnight fame and how it has affected her.
Weaved throughout Rogers’ magnificent lyrics are messages of introspection, self-growth and love of all sorts. Supplementing her lyrics, Rogers gets creative with her sounds. For many young artists, finding a sound for their debut and sticking to it is the game plan, but Rogers doesn’t follow that route — in fact, she does the exact opposite.
Bathed in dance music, the entire album ignites a passion to dance, tap along or plainly nod one’s head. Listing all of her dance-inducing songs would be overwrought but danceable standouts on the album include the HAIM-like “Give A Little” and the love-filled “Burning.” Beside the urge to dance, Rogers delves into a multitude of other genres. Between reeling in some funky bass lines and a hip-hop aspect on “The Knife” and honing in on classic R&B for the chorus of “Say It,” Rogers continues to dip her toe into whatever genre she pleases — and it continues to pay off.
Above all though, Rogers is most successful when she strips down to almost nothing. The vulnerable and deeply personal “Past Life” sits directly in the middle of the album and ultimately seems to be a beacon from which all of the other songs span. Featuring nothing but a piano and Rogers’ simplistic yet powerful voice, the song builds by each verse.
Not to take value from her upbeat songs, but “Past Life” plays a refreshing role on the album as well. Pulling from influential songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Jim Croce, the song doesn’t need fancy beats or any type of danceability to create an impact — it’s pure storytelling
If she hadn’t already, Rogers has established herself as a key player in pop music with her debut. Similar to the likes of Lorde, her music stems from a youthful place of searching for oneself in the crazy world we all live in. Though she may never reach the outright viral hype her single “Alaska” had, she definitely has the potential to do big things. Having already made her debut on as well as a throughout the spring, it seems Rogers is only going up, and it only makes sense when she’s producing music of this quality.