Here at Tuesday we have been Maggie Rogers fans from the start, from the viral video of Alaska’s first steps, to patiently waiting for her EP ‘Now That The Light Is Fading’ to drop in early 2017, and now, with her debut album release. Both Trinity and I have traveled many miles to see Maggie Rogers live; she is one of our favorite artists of all time, if not The Favorite. Her words, her presence, her production, her style- it is everything we love and want to be in this world. It has been gratifying to see Maggie blossom over the past two years, especially recently with appearing on major television networks, such as Ellen and Saturday Night Live. Opening on tour for Mumford and Sons and HAIM in 2018, receiving praise from major celebrities such as Niall Horan, Sam Smith, and John Mayer. But there is truly only one person to credit for her success, Maggie. She is a star, and regardless of how many fans she gains, how many streams on Spotify she gets, or how many television shows she appears on, she will never stray from her true magic and humble roots.
Here is our co-written, track by track review of Maggie Rogers’ debut album ‘Heard It In A Past Life’.
Track One, Give A Little:
The ultimate dance track. Maggie has this magical way of pairing her experience with house party music influences and her folk background with expressing powerful narratives in her lyrics. The “give a little, get a little” line repeating throughout the chorus creates a sense of community, makes you feel as if you’re in a crowd having a dance party. There is a bit of political background behind this song, as Maggie has said that it was inspired by the national school walk out for gun control that occurred in America in early 2018. The lyrics clearly show a call for empathy and community, hoping to bring together people to solve issues, rather than the divide among us becoming more focused on than the actual problems. -Alex
Track Two, Overnight:
Things can change in an instant. Your relationship, your health, your career- it can (and will) be overwhelming. To me this song is about acknowledgement and perseverance. Reassuring yourself that this is how life goes, change is scary and it’s alright to be scared. “People change overnight, things get strange, but i’m alright, i’m still here..” This is one of my favorite tracks from the album, as it’s one of those songs you can dance in your room alone to in the middle of the night when you’re sad and need to let yourself be free. Singing along to “But I’m alright, I’m still here” brings tears to my eyes every time, as I can feel Maggie herself telling me that it’s all going to be okay. The music feels like classic Maggie Rogers, but not in a predictable way- in a ‘yes, this is her, this is who she is’ way. -A
Track Three, The Knife:
Alright. This one. I remember hearing this one live a few times at Maggie’s shows in 2018, and I loved it (of course). But damn. Hearing the studio version made me completely, head over heels, fall in love This is probably the song I listen to most off of the album, as I can not help but dance like a complete fool. The dark and soulful verses, showing off a different type of vocal range for Maggie, a silky smooth voice that keeps you drawn in, leading you into the playful and dance-y chorus. I feel carefree listening to this song, like I should be at a party with my closest friends not caring about anything or anyone but them and this moment. The break of the song has this amazing buildup to the final chorus, singing “I have a feeling it’s all about to blow”, letting the listener know that you’re about to let it all out. I can’t help but feel like I’m dancing alongside Maggie, letting both of our troubles fade away. -A
Track Four, Alaska: A song for leaving it behind, not to forget or to bury deep down, but to keep somewhere where it doesn’t sting so badly, to make room for the new. ‘Cut my hair so I could rock back and forth, without thinking of you’, something I’ve sung to myself when I get caught up in someone or something I know I need to shed, chop off those strings that always lead back to old habitual ways. Maggie recently spoke on her relationship with this song, as many say that this is the track that started it all for her, it thrust her into a whirlwind of decisions she didn't feel were hers and a life she could hardly recognize. ‘Alaska was never mine’, Rogers said in a recent interview, before she even had the chance to finish the track it was out for millions to see and make what they will out of it. This song was born out of the moments Maggie spent hiking in Alaska, finding herself again in a time where she thought the music thing wasn’t going to work out, left breathless and renewed. After years of figuring out how Alaska fits into her story, she says she has come back around to the start, reclaiming what it means and giving it a new definition. Learning that she didn’t just fall into this by chance, but that she deserves and earned every piece of joy that came with. -Trin
Track Five, Light On: Sharing what you create is one of the most beautiful parts of being an artist, but it’s just as equally terrifying. When suddenly everyone identifies you with this one song that isn’t even fully shaped yet, you’re left feeling like you have so much more to say. Light On tells us the full story, a confessional from Maggie to her fans, how it felt when everything was moving too fast and showed no signs of stopping. She bares her heart to us, proving that she will always come back just as real and raw as before, finding the balance between give and take. If you’ve been a fan of Maggie for a while and have had the chance to see her live, you know that her energy is so grounding and personal. Light On is the perfect representation of that, she builds a connection with everyone in the room, whether she's standing right in front of you or hundreds of rows away, you can feel her genuine magic. -T
Track Six, Past Life:
On the topic of change, Maggie can definitely relate. “I can feel the change coming, saw it on TV”. This is an obvious connection between Maggie’s quick rise to popularity, but the song is more than that. It’s a more encompassing feeling of having a resurgence in identity, a new life, a new being. The ballad feels intimate, like this song was written as a form of therapy for Rogers.
“Oh, maybe there’s a past life coming out inside of me
Maybe it’s the song I’m singing
Maybe everything’s just turning out how it should be
Maybe there’s a past life coming out inside of me
Oh, maybe there’s a past life coming out inside, inside of me”
In a recent interview with Q on CBC , Maggie says that songwriting and releasing music can be a form of therapy, but it can also be an act of public service. I think this song embodies that theory, as sharing her personal narrative can’t help but comfort others going through similar situations. -A
Track Seven, Say It: Falling in love, or at least thinking you might be, the ringing those feelings leave in your ears and the way your hair stands on end when someone mentions their name. Maggie somehow encaptures all these feelings into a groovy and introspective 3 minutes and 41 seconds. There's a sultry r&b tone to this song, her belt-y and smoky vocals mimicking the allure to new love, the attractiveness of all the could be's. She sings about the constant pull, wanting to cling onto those moments with that person that seem too small to even consider, but still pour over your shoulders and leave chills on your skin. Yeah, that sort of falling, head first out of nowhere and trying desperately to bring yourself back to center. Words you’re too scared to say so you just keep them in the pocket of your jeans or under your pillow, safe and untouched. Reminding yourself that this just can’t be, but what if it could? -T
Track Eight, On + Off: This song has a very special place in my heart, as it’s the song that made me fall in love with Maggie Rogers. I can distinctly remember the first time I listened to it in early 2017, when it was first released. The fast paced beat keeps you bouncing on your feet, as if you’re about to take off in a race. The chorus has that type of build to where you find yourself screaming and headbanging in your car, hoping strangers aren’t staring at you- but if they are, you don’t care. The production on this song is incredible, as it feels well thought out, but not overworked; it feels loved. When this song comes on shuffle, there is no way I’m skipping it. -A
Track Nine, Fallingwater: The song that seemed to unravel and manifest at just the right time, not just in my life, but fit perfectly with the rest of the Earth, like the last piece of a puzzle. With a hymnal alternate chorus led in by soft hums, marking a pivotal shift, and deep drums hitting like a heartbeat. This song is about change, and to me it has always felt like an open letter to past self in a time where I was still learning that change doesn’t mean loss. A time of feeling like everything ended up dark, and no matter where you turn there's no one else to blame but yourself. Like any sort of grip you had fell from your palms and through your fingers like sand. Questioning whether you’ve really given yourself what you owe, whether your very best was good enough. ‘I never gave you everything, I wish I could, I should have seen it coming from where you stood’. Knowing you let yourself slip away, drifting upstream right before you, and you didn’t have the strength to pull yourself out. This realization wraps it’s way around your ankles and when you look down it’s your own two hands dragging you beneath the surface. Fallingwater isn’t just about finding yourself in the dark, it’s about clawing your way back out. That release of finally letting it all go, the steep and treacherous climb to come up on the other side. The warm feeling of forgiveness, like honey on your skin, the silken moments of when the sun comes up, and knowing that it always will. -T
Track Ten, Retrograde: Maggie said this track is about a mental breakdown, so now I know why I’m so drawn to it. The pulsing and breathy vocals ring reminiscent of the nights where your thoughts are running so fast you can hear them hitting the walls and bouncing back into your lap. Trains of thought crashing into each other on blurred and twisted tracks, feeling the floor beneath you and the sound of everything falling apart onto the hardwood, wanting nothing more than to get out of your own head and let it all go. Rogers tells her experience with these emotions and cries out if onlys, wanting to break out of her own body just for the release, to split the tension. -T
Track Eleven, Burning: Fate is a weird concept, but I can’t help but believe that there are always going to be certain people that come into your life at the perfect time, like clockwork. Burning is about that someone, who comes along and helps you in ways you didn’t even know you needed. Someone to make all the pieces fit, and dust off your old self that has been sitting on the shelf waiting for you to come back. Burning is a explosive and celebratory song about love, with a big and dance-y drumline, a song that feels like every spark and skipped heartbeat with your favorite person. Play this song with someone you love and relive every fire-filled moment, like fireworks at your fingertips. -T
Track Twelve, Back In My Body: This song runs alongside ‘Past Life’ for me- ‘Past Life’ feels like acknowledging the disconnect between who you once were and who you are now, and ‘Back In My Body’ is the acceptance and endurance in moving towards reclaiming yourself.
“This time I know I’m fighting,
This time I know I’m back in my body”
In early 2018, Maggie released a mini documentary titled ‘Back In My Body’, exploring her journey leading up to 2018. Now listening to the full song, it all makes sense as to why the documentary and the song share the same title. She was finally feeling control and stepping back into her body, after so much time of being in a whirlwind. The lyrics are extremely personal and intimate, as it’s describing a feeling that is so specific, something so hard to put into words. Yet, she does. This song brings tears to my eyes for many reasons, but most of all, as it has a similar eerie sound as ‘Dog Years’, a nod to her past, but more so a nod to her future. -A
Don't forget to check out Maggie on Instagram and Twitter, along with her (almost completely sold out) US Spring tour. Thank you, Maggie Rogers, for building this space for your listeners and giving us a record to turn to when we need to find ourselves again and again.