Maggie Rogers spent the first three years of her career retracing one chance encounter: In 2016, a video of her singing a song that moved Pharrell to tears during a master class at NYU went viral, earning her a record deal, magazine features, and headlining tours (watch it and you’ll understand). But the Maryland native, then 22, was still figuring out who she was, and this sudden flood of fame was a lot to bear. Determined to take control of her own narrative, she assembled a debut album powerful enough to shift the conversation. Measured, subtle, and wise beyond her years, it feels like the introduction she always wanted to make.
Like her 2017 EP, Now That the Light Is Fading, Heard It In A Past Life is a thoughtfully sewn patchwork of anthemic synth-pop, brooding acoustic folk, and soft-lit electronica, the latter of which was inspired by a year spent dancing through Berlin’s nightclub scene. But here, her vision feels both more daring and more polished. On “Retrograde,” long stretches of propulsive synths are punctuated by high-pitched hah-hah-hahs; “Say It” blends R&B with light, breathy indie-pop; and “The Knife” could be a sultry come-on or a daring confession.
On the Greg Kurstin-produced “Light On,” Rogers seems to make peace with her surreal story. “And I am findin’ out/There’s just no other way/And I’m still dancin’ at the end of the day,” she sings, a bittersweet hat-tip to the moment that got her here. And to her fans, a promise: “If you leave the light on/Then I’ll leave the light on.”
Give A Little
On + Off
Back In My Body
12 Songs, 45 Minutes
January 18, 2019
Capitol Records; ℗ 2019 Debay Sounds LLC, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.