Maggie Rogers – Don't Forget Me

Maggie Rogers' third album Don’t Forget Me is a cumulative stock-take of good times as well as the once secure things that have given way

Album Review by Lucy Fitzgerald | 10 Apr 2024
  • Maggie Rogers – Don't Forget Me
Album title: Don't Forget Me
Artist: Maggie Rogers
Label: Polydor
Release date: 12 Apr

Don’t Forget Me is sure to become a roadtripper’s delight. It’s an album designed to be played on a long journey with the windows down, as its fraught rock crescendos complement hitting headwinds as much as its at-ease shuffles suit a calm breeze. In it, happy and sad co-exist, and we get compelling ruminations on relationship redos, mettle, off-track indulgences, and the equalising effect of time. There is a partial new wave hangover from Maggie Rogers' 2022 album Surrender, but she largely dispenses with those synth and electronica sounds and returns to her modern folk province, trading in Laurel Canyon cool and soft expressions of Heartland rock. Not overly stylised, she delivers a totally assured sound, sitting in compelling contradiction to the lyrics' vulnerable, not-so-sexy notions of uncertainty and regret.

Impulsive and self-destructive, Drunk is a maelstrom set to music. Its pounding runaway drum – bringing to mind Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain – slaloms and charts a devastating crash, while So Sick of Dreaming is soft-rock in sound and short shrift in sentiment, landing like a mid-tempo, ultra-laidback That Don’t Impress Me Much (complete with Shania’s unsympathetic sass – 'Ain’t no diamond ring you can buy me to take me home!'). Self-possession finds cheeky articulation in its send-up voice memo of a date’s shitty behaviour (Rogers' diagnosis? 'What a loser!').

The album’s standout is The Kill, a striding, mature account of a colourful, thoroughly messy relationship, in which tainted, hazy early days portend lasting mutual damage for both parties. Rogers holds this central tension wonderfully as blame is shared between interchanging yous and Is ('I was all the way and you were halfway out the door / Oh you were an animal making your way up the hill, and I was going in for the kill'). Like the deft hand of a potter shaping ceramics on a spinning wheel, her delicate vocal licks caress the propulsive pre-chorus. It’s heady, drilling, and redolent of the best of Tears for Fears.

When it comes to a few cases of too-predictable, arguably silly, rhymes ('You wore leather and blamed the weather'), Rogers still pulls it off. Crucially, she knows how to be generative with simplicity: paring-down to just piano on I Still Do, her matured voice imbues a somewhat basic ballad with convincing been-through-some-shit honesty.

As a product of Rogers’ late 20s, Don’t Forget Me is a cumulative stock-take of the good times as well as the once secure things that have given way, of how flights of strength and determination can easily be followed by fickle and desperate spells. It's a sage document precisely because it embraces that which can’t be figured out: what life has next in store.

Listen to: So Sick of Dreaming, The Kill, On & On & On