Maggie Rogers’ new album, Heard it in a Past Life, was released Jan. 18, 2019, and includes both new songs as well as a few familiar ones such as “Alaska” and “On + Off.” Rogers has been known for her eclectic mix of genres, including indie, pop and electra; and has been called “genre defying” by Time. She was first introduced to fame when a clip of a song she wrote and sang went viral and was seen by Pharrell Williams, which landed her a record deal.
However, this album is more than an addition to her collection of music; it was a personal journey for Rogers. Building on what made Pharrell so awestruck by her original “Alaska” demo, she brings her originality and authenticity into this new album. Inspired by her whirlwind jump to fame, Rogers wanted to ground herself and didn’t want to lose what made her passionate. “Fallingwater,” Rogers wrote in a handwritten letter shared on Instagram, is about “these past two years, this giant transition and ride that I’ve been on. It’s a song that celebrates rapid change and how simultaneously scary and electric it can feel.” For each song, Rogers has shared the backstories.
While some songs retained her folksy vibe, others sounded more like the conventional pop hits such as “Knife.” There was a level of exploration that Rogers was experimenting with regarding her tunes and lyrics. While I preferred the folksy tunes to pop, I think artistic exploration is important for every artist. However, her lyrics are refreshingly honest and the core of her music, which is why it appeals to so many people.
Rogers has been compared to having a sound similar to early Stevie Nicks’, but she is able to incorporate the contemporary themes that make songs so popular today. “Give a Little” is a prime example of this since it has more of a pop beat than acoustic vibes. In addition, “Retrograde” has is a mix of pop with a bit of techno in the background that makes it more upbeat and catchier.
My personal favorites are her two classics “On + Off” and “Alaska,” but of her new songs, I was a fan of “Fallingwater,” and I enjoyed the quirky tune of “Burning” as well. If you’ve liked Maggie Rogers in the past, you’ll probably like her new album. And if you’ve never heard her, I’d recommend giving her a listen. There’s something for everyone in her authentic and original songs. Overall, I would say that Heard It in A Past Life was well done, and I’m excited to see what she comes out with next.