Album Review: Heard It In A Past Life

Album Review: Heard It In A Past Life

Maggie Rogers took the indie pop scene by storm after a video of Pharrell Williams loving her song in a master class went viral. Her breakout track, “Alaska,” has been the subject of many remixes and is featured on her first full studio album, Heard It In A Past Life.

  1. “Give a Little”

If you are ever in a bad mood, watch this music video. The lighthearted track is supplemented with a music video of Maggie and her college friends skateboarding and having a great time. The percussion makes this song so easy to bop to!

  1. “Overnight”

The disco-influenced rhythms at the end of the choruses bring in a fun vintage aspect to this track. This is essentially a laid-back fight song, with Maggie’s narrative at the center of the track.

  1. “The Knife”

While it sounds threatening, the “knife” Maggie refers to is actually the “knife of insight” tearing its way into her. These lyrics are astoundingly poetic, with a clean, funky, folk-y, pop vibe. The genre of this album is so consistent and yet so elusive, and this track represents this well.

  1. “Alaska”

Of course, “Alaska” had to be on her first full album. It was this song that caught fire in 2016, leading her to a transformative three-year period of intense artistic growth culminating in this album. Featuring authentic finger snaps and leg pats, this song meshes her love for folk with her love for electronic

  1. “Light On”

This song is both hopeful and grounded – a beautiful moment of vulnerability and honesty in the middle of the album. If you want to, you can see a gorgeous video of her performing this with her fans here.

  1. “Past Life”

“Past Life” was recorded in a single take. The dry, raw vocal is a stunning contrast to the doubled, effected vocals necessary to maintain a pop aesthetic on the rest of the album. The sentiment of this track is her inspiration for the whole album.

  1. “Say It”

This is a weird chord progression, in my opinion; but, the production is also off-kilter. The heightened delay and one-pitch melody give this piece a very ethereal feel that carries over into the chorus in the form of intense vocal layering and beautiful harmonies.

  1. “On + Off”

As a single, this song gained popularity following the explosion of “Alaska”. According to Maggie’s Instagram, it had to be included on this album because it represents a part of the journey that this album encapsulates.

  1. “Fallingwater”

Maggie’s voice is gorgeously situated in this mix. The instrumentation is sparse enough to give her space, but full enough to support and energize her narrative here. The break in the middle emphasizes this idea of space and re-energizing wonderfully.

  1. “Retrograde”

Right off the bat, this song seems to draw upon the vocal stylings of Sara Bareilles (in particular, her song “Islands”). As one of the more uptempo pieces on the album, this song hypes the album up just in time for the penultimate song.

  1. “Burning”

If you want a taste of the force that is Maggie Rogers, check out this video of her. She is a ball of artistic and creative energy, just like this song suggests.

  1. “Back In My Body”

While this song is slower, its momentum is tangible in the steady drumbeat and straight rhythm of the verse. This was actually the title of her mini-documentary, which was published on YouTube in March, 2018 and details her story and, specifically, her 2017 tour.

Overall, this album is a major milestone in the trajectory of Maggie’s career. Keep an eye on her, as I’m sure she has plenty more innovation to come.

-Jess Burchett


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