OPINION: RISING FEMALE ARTIST’S DEBUT ALBUM LEAVES LINGERING IMPACT
Published by MediaOCU on 1/31/2019 at https://mediaocu.com/2019/01/31/opinion-rising-female-artists-debut-album-leaves-lingering-impact/
Maggie Rogers is the next big name you should know in music. Her full-length album, Heard It In A Past Life, crosses between the genres of pop, dance and folk music. The album was released Jan. 18 and can be streamed on major platforms. Prior to this album, Rogers released a 2017 EP titled Now That The Light Is Fading, as well as remixes, singles and popular Spotify Singles covers. Listen to her Tim McGraw cover, you won’t regret it. The full album, only 12 songs and 45 minutes in length, sticks with the listener much longer than its run time.
The opening track, Give A Little, opens with the line “If I was who I was before, then I’d be waiting at your door, but I cannot confess I am the same.” From the opening notes, Rogers identifies the album as one that is about growth and change–she’s not the same person that she used to be. After all, she only graduated from NYU two years ago. Since then, she’s toured with HAIM and Mumford & Sons and gained recognition from journalists, musicians and millennials near and far. Give A Little starts the album off on the correct footing, foreshadowing the dance hits to come, but also the thoughtful lyricism that makes Rogers’s writing stand out.
A definite highlight from the album is the song Retrograde. The chorus features the line “Oh, here I am, settled in, freaking out,” followed by what could best be described as angsty sing-yelling. Rogers captures a feeling of chaos in a song that’s accompanied by a chorus of backing vocals and computerized percussion. Rogers even features a shoutout in verse two to the 1981 Stevie Nicks song Bella Donna. Retrograde feels like a call to dance away the stress, and like Nicks’s classic Bella Donna, it communicates an image of a woman looking her own turmoil in the eyes and fighting with everything she has to embrace, accept and ultimately overcome it.
Retrograde is not the only track to detail a time of personal distress. Overnight opens with a verse about losing something. What Rogers “lost” is up to interpretation, but one can conclude that she’s talking about a moment when she felt disconnected from emotions.
The next track, The Knife, talks about “the knife of insight” that helped Rogers shape herself into the person she wanted to become—or at least gave her some perspective into the things she wanted to feel and experience. The album continues past these tracks with more songs about losing and finding oneself in various ways.
It’s in the final song, Back In My Body, where Rogers gets specific. In this slow-moving anthem, Rogers sings about the acute anxiety she felt while traveling overseas. The chorus features the lines “This time I know I’m fighting, this time I know I’m back in my body… I found myself when I was going everywhere,” which highlights how Rogers found a new aspect of herself, even though she was more alone then she ever had been while abroad.
What Rogers creates in her debut album is a juxtaposition between isolation and belonging. Each track is tinged with a balance of mid-’20s conflict and the visceral want to dance and sing with friends while covered in glitter. Ideally, Rogers would be playing at said dance party. Rogers describes herself as a “witchy feminist rock star,” but her music can be understood by everyone. Anyone who has ever felt unsure of themselves can understand what she’s singing about. Listen when anxious, when sad, when happy and singing along in the car. Heard It In A Past Life is an album that will be on your mind while listening and long after.