Album Review: Maggie Rogers: Hiking Through Sound


Photo courtesy of Youtube

Bradley Laas, Writer

Take a step outside of your Top 40 comfort zone and into the electronic and effervescent camping trip that is “Now That The Light Is Fading.” This five song debut EP by Maggie Rogers is everything the lost college student is looking for: interesting yet danceable beats, lyrics about travel and dogs and an overall feeling of wanderlust and nostalgia.

The EP starts out with Rogers’ shortest song, “Color song.” In two minutes and ten seconds, this young artist sets the scene for the campout that is this EP. The background is simple: crickets in the dawn. Enter Maggie’s voice in a sultry “oow” reminiscent of a hymn. The “oow” sets this simple melody of the song, as well as echoed voice prominent throughout the song. The song is haunting and honestly the least interesting of the five, but the melody paints a picture of sitting around a campfire.

Skip to song two, “Alaska.” It starts off with a pleasant and marching beat. The first lyrics of the song are “I was walking towards these streams.” The beats move you along the stream. As the song progresses toward the chorus, the song becomes more dreamlike before falling into a waterfall of dance created by Rogers’ voice. Rogers has taken us on a hike with her along these streams to a beautiful, pristine waterfall almost untouched by man.

The third song, and my personal favorite, is “On +Off.” It breaks away from the campfires and hikes of the rest of the EP even though the lyrics are still heavy with images of nature. Lyricly, Rogers is begging to be taken to a place. As the lyrics go, “She’s coming up slowly.” The beat drags you up in a club-like trance before dropping you softly into Rogers’ simple, almost exposed voice. It is as if Rogers is bringing you to that place that she’s looking for.

We return to our campsite for the fourth song, “Dog years.” This number pulls on the heartstrings entirely by nostalgia. The song is reminiscent of sitting around with old friends, fire blazing and conversation flowing. The song pushes past that, though, and into the idea of new adventure and leaving that behind. Rogers lightly hits the hook “We will be alright,” reminding herself, and the listener, that we will survive after the good times have gone.

Rogers closes her debut EP with the song “Better.” The song acts as the drive home from your final weekend adventure. The lyrics talk of traveling to a new place and attempting to become something better. This song mixes the heavy dance beat of “On + Off” with the softer, more natural beats of the rest of the album. Feeling the least complicated, this song slowly fades to a close with Rogers repeatedly singing “better” to herself.

I can’t help but restart the EP after it closes. I have a longing for more from this artist. I click play again to relive that camping trip that Maggie Rogers takes her listeners on over these five songs. It may not be a long expedition, but it’s a campout worth taking.

Overall, this was a triumphant first attempt for this young, rising Indie star. The five songs she provided for us on this EP filled a void my music library has been missing. Maggie Rogers’ has give us a meaningful yet approachable Indie pop album. She is offering the same listenability as mainstream pop stars, but she is adding her own heart and soul to it. The EP does two huge things for me: it gives me an artist that wants to tell her own story and the easy listening of modern pop music.