Maggie Rogers’ 12 track debut album, Heard It In A Past Life, was released earlier this week on January 18, 2019. Prior to this album, Rogers had only released singles and EP, Now That The Light Is Fading. Her debut album has been highly anticipated ever since she was discovered by Pharrell and went viral in 2016. Heard It In A Past Life contains hit songs that were featured on her EP, such as “Alaska” and “On + Off”, as well as other singles, which include “Fallingwater”, “Give A Little” and “Light On”. “Light On” is currently number one on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart and has been there for two weeks as of January 19th, 2019; It has been ranked within that chart for thirteen weeks altogether.
In a press release interview for her song, Rogers says this about her song, “Light On”: “[It]...is a letter to my fans about the last two years of my life...There was so much change that happened so fast, I wasn’t always sure how to makes all this stuff feel like me. I was really overwhelmed for a while, and scared too - my life became so public so fast and there were times I wasn’t sure that this was all for me. But I never had doubts about the music...This is the most vulnerable I’ve felt in a song and it’s me saying thank you for all the light my fans brought me when I couldn’t find it for myself.”
The raw authenticity and humanness of her personality shines through in her music, both in new and old releases. The lyrics she’s written have remained fairly consistent in their message, revolving around her personal experiences, relationships and emotions as her songs carry strong messages of struggle, specifically regarding her personal journey towards regaining her sense of control, freedom and self after she went viral. “Overnight” clearly expresses these sentiments with the lines, “‘Cause people change overnight/Things get strange, but I’m alright/I’m still here”. “Alaska” similarly speaks of liberation through rapid, overwhelming change with the lines, “And I walked off you/And I walked off an old me/...Learned to talk and say/Whatever I wanted to”.
Her sound, on the other hand, has evolved throughout her few years of involvement within the industry. When comparing her 5 track EP to the debut album, it is clear that she has stuck to her layered vocals and indie pop roots but has shifted from dreamy, haunting sounds to more synth-infused dance pop. Her EP included more obviously realistic, naturalistic sound samples, such as crickets chirping, wooden flutes, running water, spoons and jars, which Rogers believes grounds the songs and “establishes a place sonically”. Her debut album, on the other hand, is more reliant on machine-made synth, percussion that punches and light, bubbly piano-based sounds. Through Instagram posts, she did state that some songs off the album, such as “Overnight”, included naturalistic sound samples, like glaciers and frogs, showing her fans that she consistently sticks to what feels right for herself regardless of her progression and evolution in other areas.