Album Review: “Heard It In A Past Life”

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By John Olson

If you had met Maggie Rogers a few years ago, she would’ve introduced herself as “a banjo player from the Eastern Shore of Maryland,” according to her website. However, one could also easily add “rising star of the indie pop genre.”

“Heard It In A Past Life” was released on Jan. 18 and is Roger’s first major-label album. The singer rose to fame after a video of her at her university’s master class with Pharrell Williams went viral. Her single “Alaska” thoroughly moved him.

Since then, Rogers has gone on to perform live at various venues, including being a musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.”

It only takes one listen of the album to fall in love with the pure vocals and folk-pop aesthetic.

Listening to “Alaska” first, one can understand why Williams would be so moved. Rogers weaves a lyrical masterpiece that aligns perfectly with a beat that would make anyone want to dance along. The song serves as a testament to just what one is in store for when listening to the rest of the album.

While “Alaska” serves as her stylistic touchstone, “Light On” is likely her most recognizable piece. Often done in her live performances, it’s sometimes hard to decide if those or the studio versions are better.

In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple’s “Beats 1,” Rogers said that this song was the letter to her fans, thanking them for staying during what she would describe as the most overwhelming time of her life as she gained widespread popularity.

Other standout tracks from the album include “Overnight,” “The Knife” and “Say It.”

These new songs bring together the collection of pervious singles to create a well thought out album deeply entrenched in the vocal brand of Maggie Rogers.

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