Maggie Rogers’ Heard It in a Past Life made it onto the list of Billboard’s 40 Most Anticipated Albums of 2019. It was released on Friday, January 18 of this year. Originally a banjo player and folk singer from rural Maryland, Rogers fell in love with dance music when she studied abroad in France as an NYU student. This largely influenced her musical style transition from traditional folk (as heard in her two independently released albums The Echo and Blood Ballet) to the folk-pop blend that captivated the world when Rogers’ song “Alaska” went viral. Following a master class with Pharrell at NYU, she began to draw the attention of major record labels, including Capitol Records, which she is currently signed to.
At first, this might sound like any other overnight success story, but the more people talk about how Maggie Rogers made it in the music industry by wowing a highly influential artist before she even graduated from University, the more her audience seems to grow exponentially. Maggie Rogers was in the right place at the right time, impressed the right person, and somehow became famous in a way that many other artists hope for but may never achieve.
It’s easy to roll your eyes and say that Maggie Rogers is just another overhyped singer-songwriter. However, her viral song “Alaska” has proven people wrong. Rogers not only breathes authenticity into her work, she exudes it. She writes lyrics in a way that’s reminiscent of the most impactful and legendary folk singer-songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s – think Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez – and yet she seamlessly weaves in her personal life journey as a millennial who’s trying to rediscover herself. Overall, she aims to remain true to who she was “in a past life.”
The album as a whole surpasses many other singer-songwriter albums because of the way she writes her lyrics – she’s neither pretentious nor cliché. Not only are her lyrics succinct and poetic, they also weave in overarching themes that are highly relevant to millennials today:advocacy for social and political change, vulnerable introspection, self-discovery, and the meaning of love.
As a highly versatile, sharp, and self-aware lyricist, she excels at delivering resonant messages that explore what it means to be an idealistic millennial in an ever-changing world full of uncertainty, especially in her songs “Give a Little” and “Past Life.”
Sonically, Maggie Rogers defies all generic expectations of what both pop music and indie music should sound like. She manages to create an eclectic blend of folk, dance pop, indie pop, R&B, classic rock, and even gospel sounds. However, not a track sounds jarring nor out of place. Unlike other artists signed to a major record label, it’s evident that Maggie has creative control over her sound. With just the right amount of commercial appeal that complements, rather than detracts from, her soulful and organic style.
Maggie Rogers’ Heard It in a Past Life is a solid debut album from a highly evocative lyricist and gifted musician who’s both youthful and wise beyond her years. All in all, this idiosyncratic and unrivaled musical masterpiece will most definitely remain a classic for future generations.
Hear the full album below and comment to let us know what you think!
Featured Image via We Heart It