When your claim to fame is making Pharrell Williams cry with one of your songs, it’s pretty obvious that you’re doing something right. In a 2016 masterclass for music students at NYU, Pharrell labelled Maggie Rogers’ gorgeous track ‘Alaska’ incomparable and “singular”. It’s a hefty claim, but it’s far from untrue. Over the last two years, Rogers has proven herself to be in a league of her own, masterfully blending elements of pop, folk, hip-hop and soul into incredibly blissful and meticulously crafted songs.
Following a busy 2017, which saw the release of her acclaimed EP, ‘Now That The Light Is Fading’, the singer/songwriter/producer has returned with her first musical offering for the year: the single ‘Fallingwater’. The track is co-written and produced by ex-Vampire Weekend-member-turned-producer-extraordinaire Rostam Batmanglij, whose influence can be heard in the slightly rustic piano (not too dissimilar-sounding to the one heard on Vampire Weekend’s ‘Obvious Bicycle’) that features prominently throughout the song.
Just over half of ‘Fallingwater’ features the sound that, by now, can be seen as Rogers’ staple. A watery hip-hop beat drives the track as the singer’s soulful vocals float over piano chords that are equally as wistful as they are uplifting. Droning synths and guitars and airy vocal harmonies lift the chorus to the transcendent heights fans of Rogers’ music should probably expect from anything she releases. It’s familiar, but no less emotional and impactful than her previous work – maybe even more so.
Soon after the 2:30 mark, the song’s beat cuts out, leaving Rogers’ hypnotic voice to drift above the piano chords and synth drone, before a lone bass drum enters to set a much slower tempo. The piano’s chord progression changes to become more indicative of soul and gospel music, with this change in style being reflected in the build-up of harmonised backing vocals throughout the rest of the song. The heavy, booming percussion and abundance of vocal lines in this section leaves it feeling a tad overwhelming and overstuffed, and the track may have benefited from riding out at its initial tempo. Still, it does add a sense of progression to ‘Fallingwater’, and is indicative of the singer feeling comfortable branching out and experimenting in her songwriting.
Rogers has returned to the world of touring, after a break following her headline tour in mid-2017, which sold out in minutes. The singer is currently supporting U.S. band HAIM on their U.S., U.K. and European tour dates, and is set to appear at numerous upcoming festivals, including Governors Ball, the Reading and Leeds festival and the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival. In October, she’ll be co-headlining the 2018 All Things Go Fall Classic in Washington, D.C., having curated the all-female lineup for the festival’s opening day (October 6) with LPX (Lizzy Plapinger).
Visit maggierogers.com/live for more information.
Watch ‘Fallingwater’ below…