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Music Review: “Heard It In A Past Life”

Album: “Heard It In A Past Life”

Artist: Maggie Rogers

Genre: Alternative/Indie

Release Date: Jan. 18, 2019

Label: Capitol Records

Producers: Maggie Rogers, Greg Kurstin, Ricky Reed, Kid Harpoon, Lucio Westmoreland, Rostam Batmanglij

We have known the name for a while now, 2016 to be exact. She had it all: a viral video, a hit in the song “Alaska,” a record deal and an 18-month world tour. But, we were missing one thing – an album. As of Jan. 18, we finally have one. Maggie Rogers’ “Heard It In A Past Life” is her record, no one else’s and she made it out of her own free reign. It is a beautiful record at that, an album that addresses her struggles and achievements in her rise to fame.

The “thesis statement” of the record, “Light On,” addresses her sudden rise to fame and how this sudden change in status left her nonplussed.

“Oh, I couldn’t stop it/ Tried to slow it all down/ Crying in the bathroom/ Had to figure it out/ With everyone around me saying/ ‘You must be so happy now,’” Rogers sings.

This piece became the centerpiece of the album. Writing about how everyone looked at her and falsely assumed she was happy and doing good, because why would she not be? She had everything she ever wanted. But, there was more. There were emotions even the people closest to her could not see. Nobody saw how this sudden fame and garner of attention affected her emotionally. Described by Rogers as “the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt in a song,” she explains how her fans gave her light, stating she will “leave the light on” if her fans left “the light on” for her.

The following song on the album is an overwhelming ballad about her life before fame. “Past Life” depicts Rogers reflecting back to when times were simpler, times with old friends. She is haunted by these thoughts, while at the same time in shock with the complete life change going on around her. You have to remember she was only 22 at the time she went viral. Imagine when you went to bed one night, you were a normal college student at NYU, and when you woke up the next morning, you were viral. That is how little time Rogers had to transition into this role of fame.

“Back In My Body” is an introspective song about Rogers’ experiences and hardships while overseas and on the road touring.

“I was stopped in London when I felt it coming down/ Crushing all around me with a great triumphant sound,” Rogers sings.

This verse was about a panic attack she experienced while on set at a show in London. In an interview with the Independent, she states, “I’d finished a soundcheck, and someone came up to me and asked why I hadn’t played ‘Alaska.’ I was like, ‘I play that [all the time].’ And they said that the booker for Jools Holland was there, and that I needed to do it. I was like, ‘Fine, I’ll play the game.’ And then halfway through the song, I had a crazy panic attack and ran off the stage sobbing… Folk music usually romanticizes the road. ‘Back In My Body’ tells the opposite story.”

Rogers uses “Back In My Body” to tell the true aspects of one’s journey on the road. It is a dirty and gritty song about the reality of tour life.

“Oh, I lost you in the morning, don’t live anywhere/ I found myself when I was going everywhere,” Rogers sings in the chorus.

These lines of the chorus tell us how she lost her life on the road; she had no home and no stable foothold anywhere. Building an intimate relationship was hard because she was never in one place long enough to get to know people on a deeper level. The lyrics also tell us about how she found her life. While on the road, it gave her time to reflect on who she is as a person and made her reflect on herself, and through that she found herself.

Riddled with a variety of different songs from dance to ballads, all the way to self-reflective lyrical masterpieces, there is no shortage of good music on this album. If I can conclude one thing from this album, it is Maggie Rogers is here to stay. She is not going anywhere anytime soon. She is the hero pop music needed.

Reese Gorman is a sophomore journalism major from Schertz, TX. He is passionate about music because he believes it has a unique way of bringing people together and it brings him joy. Reese’s favorite artist is The 1975 and his favorite genre of music is Indie/Alternative. In his free time, Reese enjoys golfing, climbing, camping and reading.

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