Maggie Rogers – Heard It In a Past Life

While Maggie Rogers' major label debut lacks some vital elements, it acts as a stepping stone from a talent who is just about to surge ahead

Album Review by Robin Murray | 11 Jan 2019
  • Maggie Rogers – Heard It In a Past Life
Album title: Heard It In a Past Life
Artist: Maggie Rogers
Label: Debay Sounds / Capitol Records
Release date: 18 Jan

Maggie Rogers' life changed in a moment, and ever since then it’s been on fast forward. Still a music student, a visit by Pharrell Williams saw a passing film crew happen to capture his reaction to her song Alaska, and it went viral. Since then, she’s had to cope with graduation, fame, love, heartbreak, never-ending travel and a longing for home. Along the way she’s become the queen of the sad-pop bops, someone whose roots are entwined with the indie underground but continually yearns towards pop’s celestial viewpoints.

Major label debut Heard It In a Past Life does a good – but not complete – job of summarising those hectic emotions, featuring plenty of those stellar breakout hits. Alaska still sounds effervescent, while On + Off can pull at the heartstrings a thousand times over. Light On is furiously infectious, yet beneath the glossy surface is a lyric that hones in on the vulnerability instant fame can expose. Give a Little echoes those prime 80s solo Stevie Nicks cuts, while Fallingwater has a fresh, folk-hewn element.

That said, Heard It In a Past Life lacks some vital elements. At times, it can feel predictable, with an undoubtedly talented songwriter working within boundaries, rather than exceeding them. The palette can feel restrictive, and the lyrical matter predictable. It’s a stepping stone, a moment of reconciliation and recollection from a talent who is just about to surge ahead.

Listen to: Light On, On + Off, Give a Little