“I’ve never heard anyone like you before. That’s a drug for me.” Those were the words Pharrell Williams said to Maggie Rogers two years ago in her Master Production class at NYU during the second semester of her senior year. Sitting in a classroom with the rest of her peers, looking coy and a bit nervous, Rogers had no clue she would impress Pharrell Williams with the demo of her now popular song “Alaska.”
Since her breakout performances on SNL and Ellen, and having now toured with Mumford & Sons, Maggie Rogers has been added to pretty much every Spotify playlist. Her long-awaited album Heard It in a Past Life is out now. It’s a collection of songs that encapsulate the many changes in her life, from that video going viral to finding her way back to herself. A moment of change and transition.
Maggie Rogers’ music is the perfect antidote to feeling alone. Heard It in a Past Life is ideal for bus rides while looking out the window, walking past strangers with headphones on, and laying in bed while reminiscing on the past. Her songs give listeners the privilege to create their own storylines and play out scenarios in their head. They have the opportunity to write their own script, because Rogers’ lyrics and sounds are so vivid that they allow you to acknowledge and process your emotions.
I’m starting to believe that the music I discover is really just fate; I think certain pieces of music enter our lives when we need them to. Songs and albums present themselves when we need something to hold on to or fall back on, especially in times of frustration and insecurity. For me, Heard It in a Past Life has become a happy medium.
The album features twelve songs influenced by dance and pop, all of which are infused with eclectic synth sounds, soulful vocals, and emotionally driven lyrics. In other words, be ready to be taken to another place.
Below you can find a rundown of all twelve songs and some of my favorite lyrics.
1. “Give A Little” is the perfect song to blast at a party and dance with your friends to. It’s fun and upbeat all the way through, so you’ll definitely have it stuck in your head for hours. It’s definitely the most pop-influenced track on the record.
2. “Overnight” is a slow-tempo bop. The type of song you listen to on a late-night car ride by yourself while getting all up in your feelings. In other words, it’s very therapeutic.
3. “The Knife” is the perfect song to sway back and forth to with confidence. Ever watched a movie scene in which the protagonist is in the club, light outs, dancing and feeling herself? Yup, this song is just that!
4. “Alaska” enters a trance-like state. The best part of this track is all the eclectic nature samples juxtaposed with magical synth sounds and perfect falsetto harmonies. That’s what makes the track so special, because you really feel like you’re being teleported someplace else; it’s almost wonder-like. My favorite lyrics? “Cut my hair so I could rock back and forth without thinking of you/ learned to talk and say whatever I wanted to /and I walked off you and I walked off an old me.”
5. “Light On” is what I would call the anthem track. It has this great sense of empowerment without needing the big theatrics of a mainstream pop song. It’s laid-back, mellow, and one that could bring you to tears because it’s filled with so much hope and resilience. According to Rogers, this is the most vulnerable song she’s ever written.
6. “Past Life” is a stripped-down piano ballad accompanied solely by vocals, and it abandons the need to bottle everything up. There’s a strength in Rogers’ voice that complements the piano nicely, resulting in a truly powerful track.
7. “Say It” is a chameleon of a song. Despite its initial slow tempo, the chorus makes a grand entrance with a heavy drum pad compilation accompanied by synth sounds that make you go “OMG, this is amazing!” You’ll quickly realize that this song is a banger.
8. “On + Off” is a fast-paced, feel-good track that hits you fast and hard in a good way! It’s grand, epic, and consists of a wide range of synths which genuinely make you feel like you’re running a marathon. And on an intergalactic journey.
9. “Falling Water” is a definite favorite. It’s a beautiful triad of drums, vocals, and piano, and its best asset is Rogers’ vulnerability. The emotion is so heavy and apologetic. Here are my favorite lyrics: “I never loved you fully in the way I could / I fought the current running just the way you would and now I'm in the creek and it's getting harder / I'm like falling water.”
10. “Retrograde” is an upbeat track infused with a dance mix. It explores the struggle of fighting with one’s emotions, and it’s a great track to listen to when you just want to be left alone.
11. “Burning” is a fiery and addictive track. It’s definitely a song to blast in your room and dance to till you’re exhausted. The chorus is the best part; it’s celebratory and lifts you up emotionally. It forces you to let go and enjoy the ride.
12. “Back In My Body” is spiritual. Accompanied by stacked background vocals, a triumphant drum loop, and an electric guitar riff, this song creates a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel mantra that really wakes you up.