Maggie Rogers “Heard It From A Past Life” Album Review

Heard It From A Past Life

Sharing her life story through strategic songwriting, Maggie Rogers rises to fame as her debut album “Heard It From A Past Life” continues to dominate the charts.

Appearing on festival lineups like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and the 50th year anniversary return of Woodstock, singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers is on her way to the top. The 24-year-old pop artist experienced her rise to fame immediately after sharing her song “Alaska” to Pharrell Williams during a masters class at New York University. She wrote and produced the hit song in under 15 minutes, and blew away one of the worlds most renowned producers. While I had heard many amazing things about this young, female artist, I had yet to listen to her debut album, Heard It From A Past Life.

After researching her past, I found that Rogers grew up playing the harp, piano, and guitar all by the time she was in middle school. Her heart has always been in folk music, and the banjo was her primary instrument of choice. She fully kicked off her songwriting career during the summer of her junior year after attending Berklee’s College of Music program and won the program’s songwriting contest. Maggie is a hardworking individual who always put her best foot forward and has never tried to be anyone but herself. 

With as many as 4 million monthly Spotify listeners, Maggie Rogers has already made her mark on the world. As many of my friends continuously rave about her music, I decided to review Heard It From A Past Life from start to finish.

Opening the album with her song “Give A Little,” Roger’s introduces her audience to a light and somewhat dainty beat. She is combining her background of folk music with pop and indie styles of production. The song’s chorus is heart-warming and simple, radiating Haim-like catchiness.

Overnight” is next up, fitting perfectly as she reflects on how quickly things can change overnight. In this track, the synths were made from the sounds of glacier frogs, holding true to her creativity and strong connection to nature.

The Knife” has a unique intro that sets the tone to let loose and enjoy life to the fullest. “Beautiful as it all pours out, after dark, after life” are lyrics that prove her purpose of this song to dance and be free.

Alaska” is the song that gave Roger’s the success she needed to get this album started. The video of Pharrell’s initial reaction to this song fully shows the emotion and creativity behind her songwriting, and it is a beautiful video every fan should watch.

Light On” is another heart-warming track that features light guitar and strong vocals. I can hear the emotion and soul pouring through her voice as she shares her struggles with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by her own thoughts.

Past Life” is a ballad that focuses on the changes that are about to come and take over her life. The slow piano combined with her stripped vocals are enough to bring fans to tears by the end of it.

Say It” combines Roger’s love for electronic production with her love for nature as she uses synths and vocals to paint a picture of the Alaskan mountains and snowy hilltops. She sings about the innocence of having a crush, “every evening, every time, I keep replaying in my mind, and wondering if you do the same.”

On + Off” features smooth bass lines and layered percussions, representing the layers shared within a relationship with someone you love. With an incredibly groovy and catchy chorus, this unique track has to be one of my favorites thus far.

Fallingwater” has an off-beat tempo that captivates listeners from the start, then moves into a vocal progression that might catch you off guard. This track has emotion that takes her voice to new heights as she sings about the challenges of change.

Retrograde” tells the story of struggling between wanting to stay in a dream-state all day, and wanting to give up when things get hard in our everyday lives.

Burning” mixes clapping beats with face-tased percussion as Rogers jumps around vocally as well. This track gives listening to illusion of running through the wild, emphasizing the wild ride relationships can take you on.

Closing the album with “Back In My Body,” this track perfectly showcases her story-telling abilities through songwriting. She talks about her time in London and Paris and the emotional impact those cities have had on her life. This song is powerful, majestic, and the best finale to an incredible debut album.

Final Thoughts?

I am now a full-on Maggie Rogers fan. Initially, I thought that her pop and folk styles of music would turn me away, but after researching her story, reading her lyrics and the meanings behind them, and hearing her creativity pour through her music, I have become pleasantly surprised. It’s no wonder that Heard It From A Past Life reached #2 on Billboard’s charts following the release of the album. Roger’s has never tried to copy anyone’s style; she is unapologetically herself at all times. Her story telling abilities are something truly special, and I can already tell there are big things in store for her future.

Written By: Brittany Roach

Back from the Dead: Paramore

This is it. This is what we’ve all been waiting for. Paramore just dropped a new song, called “Hard Times,” with an official music video, and announced the release of their fifth album, “After Laughter,” out May 12. Mind you, all of this happened at 5:30 am – I felt very overwhelmed, but also happy.

 

Paramore has always been an experimental band. “Riot” was a force to be reckoned with in the pop punk scene, but over time the band transitioned into a more alternative rock sound, infused with pop inspirations. This style change can be heard in albums like “Brand New Eyes” and their self-titled work. Their upcoming album, however, takes an earnest approach to the synth ’80s pop – and I’m not complaining. Think Talking Heads-esque. Their direction of sound is the positivity 2017 desperately needs.
Although the band receives hate for “selling out” or becoming “mainstream,” this new sound is who they are. Paramore has never stuck to one sound for years and years. They are always evolving for the better, and “Hard Times” proves it. Being stagnant is never an option.
The upbeat guitar riffs, the funky bass line and the simple but groovy rhythm section manned by Zac Farro create a magical combination with Hayley’s playful vocals. But, what stands out to me is Taylor York’s guitar composition. His clean guitar work rings throughout the song. In spite of its simplicity, it’s catchy and carries Hayley’s voice – a perfect musical harmony. The incorporation of synths and vocal samples are also a nice touch, as the song gives off Daft Punk vibes, especially towards the end. This track just screams happiness and I absolutely love it.
Even the music video is bright and colorful. The technicolor graphics, the floating clouds and the multi-color corduroy outfits make this music video the happiest Paramore has ever released – a definite change from “Decode.” Fans can even see guitarist Taylor York wearing a color other than black, and that’s already a big step. Major props to the directors for producing such a visually pleasing video that grasps the song’s vibe in its entirety.
Paramore’s ability to incorporate different influences like ’80s synth, post-rock and New Wave is due to their lack of fear. They simply don’t care what critics say about their direction as a band. Instead they embrace the full control they have over the album’s sound, how it’s mixed and the way it’s delivered to fans. And you can tell because there’s heart in each bass pluck, drum beat, guitar strum and vocal melody. Paramore is 100 percent genuine and that’s why I love them.
Overall, the wait was worth it because this single is that one needed push to get me through the rest of the school year. The positivity from this song is electric and undeniable, and it’s truly amazing how one band single-handedly saved 2017. As a hardcore Paramore fan, I’m not disappointed by this release at all, nor am I mad that they changed their sound. I’m so excited for the full release of their album and I’m even more excited to watch this dynamic trio perform these killer songs. 2017 is Paramore’s year.

Featured image (“Paramore @Parahoy”) by Laurence Dion.