Heard It In A Past Life is the debut album from Maggie Rogers. Ever since Pharrell Williams had a bit of an epiphany to the American songwriter’s “Alaska” back in 2016, Maggie has been steadily building up her discography and profile with a slew of singles and an EP that certainly helped make sense of why Mr. Williams was so…Happy.
If we were to talk solely about Maggie’s certified hit “Alaska”, it’d be easy to analyse and decipher the formula she uses throughout Heard It In A Past Life. Subtle percussion adds a touch of breath to a rather minimalist instrumental, bolstered softly by Maggie’s vocals that seemingly dance their way through various registers. There’s an addition of synthesisers in the background that contribute introverted beats that do not wish to disturb too much, but rather make their presence known by the quietest of waves. The other track from the Now The Light Is Fading to make it on the record, “On + Off”, offers a bolder sound but does not forget to drift ever so slightly for it’s chorus.
This formula is a genre-forgetting exploration into producing sounds that form atmospheres along with the occasional direct attack of sound. “Give A Little” kicks off the record with a disjointed synth beat that cuts a firm texture to the airwaves, allowing the rhythms to soften it with a disco touch. “Overnight” is a heartache of a track that also dabbles in this disco-phase as drums continue to yearn for the dancefloor, whereas that gritty bassline on “The Knife” heads straight for it.
These subtle changes in sound allow Heard It In A Past Life to flow effortlessly, and makes for some good listening throughout. We’re treated to the ballad-worthy gaze of “Light On”, the night time cruise of “Say It” and explorations of tropics in “Burning”. Its songs like these that bring vibrancy to Maggie Rogers’ debut, and convert it into one of the strongest debut records we’ve heard in a long time.