Maggie Rogers defines sound through debut album

‘Heard It In a Past Life’ explores indie-pop theme

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Maggie Rogers defines sound through debut album

Fair use from Capitol Records

Fair use from Capitol Records

Fair use from Capitol Records

Fair use from Capitol Records

Abby Intveld

Finding an album in which every song doesn’t sound the same but offers ranging sonic textures can be difficult, but “Heard It In a Past Life” is an album that proved it’s not impossible.  

The 12-track album varies in sound from song to song, switching from upbeat electronic sounds to smooth and soulful ballads.

The opening song, “Give a Little,” starts the album with a playful and energetic vibe. The track starts with an electronic beat that Maggie Rogers’ voice does not completely meld with. The background music is simple yet interesting enough to blend with Rogers’ syncopated vocals. It’s an easy listen that’s not overly complex, perfect to begin the album with.

“Retrograde” was a standout song about breaking down — a common situation many high schoolers can relate to. The simple and droning beat in the background provides a strong backbone that is juxtaposed with the lyrics of falling apart. It truly encapsulates the emotions of just freaking out and feeling lost extremely well.

Rogers really explores a darker sound in the track “The Knife.” Deep bass chords along with Rogers’ humming start off the track, offering a sultry and exciting vibe. A rich piano takes the spotlight halfway through the track and adds a lovely and unexpected element. “Past Life” is another song that contrasted drastically with the rest of the album. The limited instrumental featuring only a piano and Rogers’ voice gave off a very simple and haunting feeling. It’s a perfect song for the middle of the album as a break from her electronic-alternative sound.

The one song that did not stand out to me is “Say It.” The verses don’t have a very appealing rhythm, and the synth sounds in the background are distracting. The falsetto chorus holds little value, with just a small beat to hold it up. It feels very overproduced and lacked the classic Maggie Rogers feel.

Another disappointing aspect of the album was that Rogers decided to feature two songs — “Alaska” and “On and Off” — from her previous EP, “Now That the Light Is Fading.” This old material replaced potentially amazing new music and it felt like a cop-out to include them. Despite being disappointed, it’s hard to remain upset because of how breathtaking these songs are and how well they fit in the tracklist. When listening to “On and Off,” it’s almost impossible to not dance along to the catchy chorus and synth-beats.

Despite the aforementioned disappointments within the album, the ending track “Back in My Body” brings the album to a beautiful completion. The beginning is slow and masked in Rogers’ reverberated vocals as if she’s in a cathedral, giving a beautifully unique effect. The chorus brought tears to my eyes with the simplicity of her voice, simple background notes and a small choir. The lyrics preach the importance of being an individual and finding the time to do things that make you happy.

Rogers’ debut album is truly a rollercoaster of different sounds and genres that can appeal to various moods. “Heard It In a Past Life” is a great album for exploring various feelings while still pertaining to the indie-alternative passion of Maggie Rogers.

 

“Heard It In a Past Life:” ★★★★☆

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