Maggie Rogers’ new folk-pop album has fans emotional

Eight years ago, Pharrell Williams, an American singer and record producer recognized for works including “Happy” and the “Despicable Me” soundtrack, visited New York University for a master class with music students. During this class, he met and listened to then-student Maggie Rogers’ single “Alaska,” famously having no critiques for the folk-pop tune. 

The interaction was posted to YouTube and went viral, amassing over eight million views and making both “Alaska” and Rogers an overnight sensation. Five albums later, Rogers released “Don’t Forget Me,” her third studio album, on April 12. 

The new album contains 10 singles, eight of which were co-written by Rogers and songwriter Ian Fitchuk. The remaining two, “If Now Was Then” and “I Still Do,” were written solely by Rogers. The artist described her goal for the album to resemble a “Sunday afternoon,” a vibe most definitely achieved in the indie-pop collection.

Beginning with the titular and final track, “Don’t Forget Me,” depicts a late-20s dilemma. “My friend Sally’s getting married / And to me that sounds so scary,” she sings. Rogers goes on to describe two friends in love and in very different phases of life than her.

The chorus, “Give me something I can handle / A good lover or someone that’s nice to me,” dances around a boundary that many can probably understand: the hopelessness of finding the “one,” coupled with the desperation to do just that. Everyone else has figured it out, so why is it so hard for us? 

Another notable entry, “It Was Coming All Along,” is perhaps a little more relatable than one would wish. Rogers sings, “Said there’s talking in the kitchen / Of selling my childhood home / And everywhere I look around / It seems we’re always saying goodbye.” 

Despite the slightly gut-wrenching lyrics, Rogers holds an upbeat tempo for the track. There’s no denying the discomfort and grief that often accompanies aging, and I fear Rogers has almost hit this feeling on the mark. 

“Don’t Forget Me” seems to be an ode to love in all of its stages. “The Kill” is about a failed relationship where both parties fed into its demise. “If Now Was Then” belongs in the roll credits of a 2000s coming-of-age movie as it’s a song of regret for never sharing her adoration for someone.

“All the Same” and “I Still Do” seem to carry similar messages, a revelation to a loved one before the relationship ends, almost pleading for more time. “Never Going Home” is perhaps the wild-card of the album, about a new relationship blossoming and generating excitement. 

For those who’ve ever felt stuck in that years-long situationship or are just now finding themselves after that one person, this album is for you. If Rogers wanted a Sunday-esque album, she sure encapsulated the Sunday scaries in the catchiest and most upbeat way possible. 

As country fans start to favor the likes of folk music over the mainstream Luke Bryans and Carrie Underwoods of the world, I can’t help but wonder where Rogers fits into this. “Don’t Forget Me” has irrefutable folk influences and her lyrical style prefers storytelling over extended metaphors, a theme replicated in most folk music. 

However, the thing that I love most about this album is Rogers’ raspy lower register coupled with a faster-paced beat. Would it be wrong to call her a folk princess, or have we reserved this term for pop artists only?

If you want good vibes and quality lyrics coupled into one multi-layered album, give “Don’t Forget Me” a listen and see for yourself what emotions come up. Just remember, no matter what, do not text them!

4/5 stars


Featured photo courtesy of @maggierogers, Instagram