Review: Heard It In A Past Life by Maggie Rogers

Heard It In A Past Life by Maggie RogersI can’t imagine how it feels to be in Maggie Rogers’ shoes on that fateful moment when Pharrell Williams’ really enthusiastic reaction to “Alaska” singlehandedly catapulted her to must-watch status. After releasing an EP that pretty much aimed to capitalize on this, she took a bit of a break and now she releases a full-length that, arguably, is designed to better reflect who she is as an artist. You only see glimmers of that on Heard It In A Past Life, however. Thematically it’s there – I’m pretty sure there are references to the whirlwind past couple of years on it – but sonically it’s really all the same: a bit of folky soul (or soulful folk?) accompanied by the right amount of bleeps that should make it appealing to your typical supposedly indie-minded Spotify adventurer. Too harsh? I actually think, as pleasant as the record sounds, it highlights a problem with Maggie’s music: she’s not exactly sure where she wants to go now. There’s what her heart desires, and there’s what everybody seems to want – and so many other options in between. Perhaps that explains the assist from producer du jour Greg Kurstin, who at least continues the template but has made her music more anonymous than that “gold standard”, “Alaska”, has demonstrated. A little more time – and space – perhaps? [NB]3/5

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