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“Heard It In A Past Life” impresses music world

After a video of Pharrell Williams enjoying one of Maggie Rogers’ songs during his Masterclass with students at NYU Clive Davis Institute went viral, Rogers was thrusted into the spotlight, leaving people wondering how her career would unfold.

Capitol Records

“Red is a color that has no apologies. It doesn’t ask permission. It takes up space,” Rogers tweeted when asked about her love for red blankets. Her first full length album, Heard It In a Past Life, released, Jan. 18.

I first discovered Maggie Rogers in the summer of 2018 when John Mayer boasted about her song Falingwater on his Instagram story. Her powerful style intrigued me, and left me eager to see what else she had up her sleeve. I learned so much about her story through her podcast with Song Exploder, where she explains the production of her song Alaska.

After releasing her first EP, Now That the Light Is Fading, and multiple singles, I was super excited to hear her announcement of her full length album Heard It In a Past Life.

The album opens with the most danceable track, Give a Little. This song is so much fun, and leaves me in a good mood. She released a visual to accompany this song, and it remains one of my favorite music videos ever.

Overnight is definitely one of my favorites. This track is absolutely incredible, featuring outstanding production, great lyrics and powerful vocals. Her flow on the verses is super unique and is guaranteed to make you smile. This will for sure be one of the breakout songs from the project.

The dance party continues with The Knife. A groovy bass line combines with angelic vocals and fun pop production that will get you and all your friends bobbing your head to the beat.

Alaska is on the album, which was really what got her to where she is today. The lyrics make me want to hike the snowy mountains and wade in icy streams. The samples of mourning doves really place me in the scene she paints.

She tells the story of how she was training to be an outdoor guide and how it inspired her lyrics to Genius.

“We had to get up really early to cross this river because it had been really warm in Alaska that summer, and so the glaciers were melting at a faster pace than we expected,” Rogers said. “In Alaska the Sun never sets, so you have to wake up when the Sun is at its lowest, because then the river will be at its lowest also. I was picturing being in this icy glacial runoff water in the morning, and thinking about how difficult that was, how strange that was, how hard that was, and yet how important that was for me to find sort of my own clarity within everything that also that was happening in my life,” Rogers said.

Light On is one of those songs that really tells a deeper story many can relate to. The pre-chorus says “Oh, I couldn’t stop it, tried to slow it all down. Crying in the bathroom, had to figure it out. With everyone around me saying ‘you must be so happy now.’”

The following tweet shows Maggie Rogers performing Light On with her friends.

The album comes to a halt, and the upbeat dance anthems pause to make way for Past Life, a song that speaks for itself. She posts the story behind the song on her Twitter.

“This was the first song I wrote for the album” Rogers writes. “I was sitting at my grandmother’s piano in my childhood home in Maryland. It came flooding like a dream. Past Life was recorded in one take to tape at Capital Studios in LA. It was the last song I recorded for the album. This is the end of side A.”

Say It seems to keep the same somber mood, until a huge hip hop beat comes crashing in. When listening on headphones, climbing and arpeggiating synths circle the track, ambushing your ears.

On + Off offers a more heavy production, even harder hitting. I like her stripped down version much more, performed on Triple J. Both contrasting versions further prove Rogers’ expansive, and ever-expanding, musical capabilities.

Fallingwater is my all-time favorite Maggie Rogers song. It was the song that introduced me to her talent and creativity. Her live performance on SNL is a must-watch. She comes in with incredibly powerful vocals from the start, backed by a great band.

The album concludes with Back In My Body. She released a documentary with the same title back in March 2018 where she debuted an acoustic version of the song. The lyrics pull the album to a satisfying close, leaving you wanting to listen to it all over again.

Over all, this album is one of my favorites of all time and definitely the best female pop record I have ever heard. I recommend it to someone looking for a fresh taste of pop music.

2019 is Maggie’s year and I can not wait to see how she blows up.

Heard It In A Past Life can be found on Spotify, along with nearly every music platform.

Heard It In A Past Life
4.8 / 5 Reviewer
Vocals
Lyrics
Production
Creativity/Innovation
Genre Interpretation

For music reviews, read The Greatest Showman Reimagined and Origins.

Logan Lewis can be reached via email and Twitter.

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