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Album Review: Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life

Maggie Rogers grew up in rural Maryland. From a very young age she made folk music and played the banjo. After a video of her and Pharrell Williams at a music clinic went viral, Maggie Rogers soon rocketed to almost overnight stardom. Getting her big break and being signed to a label and releasing her EP “Now That The Light Is Fading”. Now releasing her first full length album “Heard It In A Past Life”.

Rogers new album is all about a journey of self-discovery. In the video discussed above she explained how she went from playing folk songs to dance tunes. Whilst studying abroad in France she experienced what she described as a spiritual experience with dance music. 

“Suddenly this thing that had always been the most unnatural and most artificial, I understood the release of it… And suddenly it became the most natural thing

The album starts with the energetic “Give A Little”, a song about reintroducing herself, it is a clean slate. All about starting over and sets the scene for the rest of the album. Like I said above it is all about self-discovery. Track two is “Overnight”. Maggie described this song as a love/heartache/panic/ecstasy letter from her old self to her new self. About noticing the change in herself happening in real time. It’s one of those songs that just makes you move, whether you want to or not! Track three is “The Knife”, starts with a thick bass line that drives the song and creates another song that you can’t help but move to.

Track four is the brilliant “Alaska”, this was the song that changed her life. She commented on the song on her Instagram by saying that “nearly everything that’s happened in the last 2 years has been an action or reaction to that singular moment when this song was shared”. It was the song that brought Maggie to my attention. Since then, her music has been stunning, which is evident in this album.

Track five “Light On” is the most vulnerable song she has ever written; she tells the people who supported her through everything that it wasn’t always perfect and she wasn’t always happy. “This song is a cry for help and a battle cry”. It is one of the slower songs on the album and gives you the chills as emotion is seething from this song. Track six which brings side A to an end is “Past Life”. The first song she wrote for the album, “I was sitting at my grandmother’s piano in my childhood home in Maryland. It came flooding in like a dream”. Quite a sad song about her life changing right in front of her eyes and leaving her past life behind her. 

Side B starts with track seven “Say It” which is about a crush. She commented, following up with “while this one never turned into much more. I’ve got a lot of gratitude for that dude for giving me this song and for a few days, the sparkly feeling of possibility”. A song which much of her audience can identify with I’m sure. Track eight is “On + Off”. Like Alaska this song is off her EP “Now That The Light Is Fading”. While she saw it as a big risk to include both of these songs she felt that they still emotionally resonate with the past two years of her life.  Track nine is “Fallingwater”. This song shows how brilliant her voice is, she even said herself that she didn’t know she could sing the way she did on this track.

The next track to grace our ears in the magnificent “Retrograde”. Another personal song about a breakdown, about letting go to what you once had. This is one of those songs that has the power to give you goose bumps. Rogers has a way pouring every single drop of emotion into her songs. Making them seem upbeat because of the great instrumentation on this album. Track eleven is “Burning”, this is a dance song about loving your life, she commented “with all the craziness of the last few years, I also fell head over heels completely in love”. And finally finishing the twelve-track album with “Back In My Body”, a great way to finish the album with a track about coming home to yourself and accepting everything. 

From start to finish this album brings you on a journey with Maggie, the highs and lows of her life since that day that made her. A beautifully honest album about loss, heartache, love and recovery. 

Maggie Rogers is supporting Hozier at Belsonic on Thursday 27thJune 2019. Buy tickets here

Photographer, Writer and Record Collector from County Armagh.