Most folks first learned about Maggie Roger from the viral video where Pharrell Williams gets misty eyed while praising one of her earliest songs, “Alaska,” while visiting her master class at NYU.
Three years later, Heard It In A Past Life marks the singer-songwriter’s full-length debut. From the singular uniqueness of her 2016 hit, Rogers has put forth an album that pivots off her early-stated inspiration of combining dance music with her folk roots, albeit in a limited capacity.
From the start of opener “Give a Little,” it’s crystal clear that Rogers’ music is driven by drum machines. The way her vocals ride along with the beat makes the first four tracks a series of absolute bops. From track to track, it’s obvious that the greatest sonic element of her music is her voice. But somewhere between “Light On” and “Past Life,” the house-induced sheen starts to wear off.
“On+Off” would be a great way describe about how I feel about the second half of this album. Not because the vocal talent and production isn’t there throughout the project, but because songs begin to blur together. The exception to this rule is the penultimate track, “Burning,” where we hear some traditional snare and guitar for the first time on the album.
Heard It In A Past Life could have benefited significantly from cutting a few tracks from the final listing. That being said, I am wholly impressed with Rogers’ musical talent, and excited to witness her growth as an artist over time.