Maggie Rogers: Notes from the Archives review – Praiseworthy retrospective

Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 05:00


Notes from the Archives: Recordings 2011-2016

Maggie Rogers


Singer / Songwriter

US songwriter Maggie Rogers is one of those intriguing artists whose career in music was kick-started by surprise. Rogers has, however, a more rounded career – she self-released two albums, The Echo (2012) and Blood Ballet (2014), while she interned with US music writer Lizzy Goodman, for whose 2017 oral history, Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011, she transcribed hundreds of hours of interviews with musicians. She has informed notions, then, of what motivates artists and how fate can play a crucial part in success.

The surprise? The reaction of an impressed Pharrell Williams to her 2016 song, Alaska, went viral, thereby spurring interest in her work from the public and record companies. Two years after the release of her major-label debut, Heard It in a Past Life, comes a typical quarantine release: a compilation of Rogers’s archive work that (as she explains in spoken-word inserts) highlights “how important artistic development is.”

Sequenced in reverse chronological order – “I like the idea that you can hear me get younger” – the album is a retrospective glance at a songwriter whose folk-rooted music is enhanced by brief submergent periods in electro-pop. From gauche attempts and artistic mistakes to increasing awareness of creative completion, Rogers presents a praiseworthy collection that honours “the time it takes to come to a full form”.