Maggie Rogers' first single Alaska went viral for all the right reasons. It's a breathtaking tale of reinvention in which Rogers shows a startling awareness of breath and the body – and she somehow manages to turn it into a dance track. Two years later, Rogers is releasing her debut album, and the hype and attention around her trajectory as a pop star has increased tenfold.
With such assured artistry so early on in her career, it's no surprise that on her debut, Rogers' voice is literally and figuratively crystal clear throughout. Her songs are somewhere between Lorde and Robyn, sharing profound lyrical details with the former artist and a dance-oriented, pounding energy with the latter – though there's undoubtedly an effort to hit more radio-friendly beats on Heard it in a Past Life. That's not to say Rogers is a copycat of either artist; there's a brightness throughout that feels fresh even in the well-trodden genre of indie pop.
Rogers' lyrics regularly reference light, water and breath, and the ease with which she ties them back to the emotional tempo of her life leads to a number of transcendent moments. The strongest example of this is Fallingwater, an early single that's nothing short of a masterpiece. The expansive Rostam-produced tune finds Rogers confronting surprising grief some time after a relationship breakdown, and fittingly, the song pulls back the beat with a slower tempo to close out the song over a stunning, reflective epilogue. It's extraordinary songwriting, rendered beautifully by Rogers' towering vocals.
Other singles (Light On, On & Off) reach similar emotional crescendos, and the album tracks don't quite live up to the same promise – but they're fine displays of Rogers' talent nonetheless. Overnight finds the singer clinging to a failed relationship over a bouncy beat and shimmering vocal adornments, while Say It is a more R'n'B-influenced tune with a chorus that shows off Rogers' falsetto. Heard it in a Past Life is largely upbeat and dance-oriented across the board, and Rogers' remarkably vulnerable storytelling makes it a deeply felt, uplifting debut.
Artist, Album name
Heard it in a Past Life
Bright, shimmering pop from an artist remarkably in touch with the world's natural rhythms.