Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life

She might spend most of this record looking back, but she still sounds like the future.
Label: Polydor Records
Released: 18th January 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

On her major label debut album, Maggie Rogers plays a nice game of ‘find the flaw’ with the listener. Spoiler: we all lose.

She’s a master storyteller, and this record is a novel, with no cliffhanger. The story really starts with the album’s first single ‘Fallingwater’ (a genius move releasing that first BTW), the earth-shattering, tempo-changing, reflective track that sits comfortably in the record’s second half.

Change is a common theme on ‘Heard It In A Past Life’, translating most acutely on the title(ish) track ‘Past Life’ – a Regina Spector-ish piano ballad – and the closer ‘Back In My Body’. The latter is a kiss-off to a particularly rough patch, and the perfect climax of an otherwise cathartic record.

That’s not to say there aren’t bangers on here though. ‘Burning’ is a jittery, cowbell-infused bop, ‘Say It’ is a slow dance heartbreak anthem, ‘Give A Little’ is a bright and hopeful opener.

While we’ve heard a fair few of the tracks before – ‘Alaska’, the song she whipped up in 15 minutes for her viral NYU master class, and ‘On + Off’ – they slide into the tracklist perfectly. “Take me through this wild ride” she sings on ‘On + Off’; funny how that already mimics her fast-rising career.

She might spend most of this record looking back, but she still sounds like the future. On ‘Heard It In A Past Life’, Maggie is explosive, emotional, and vulnerable. She’s not the twee folksy nature girl she was once known as, she’s a star to watch, writing confessional pop that could rival the big leagues. Taylor, Robyn, Lorde – Maggie’s here to join you.

Abigail Firth

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