Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Liner Notes: In ‘Don’t Forget Me,’ Maggie Rogers returns to folk roots with triumph

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Illustration by Sophie Zhang
On Friday, Maggie Rogers released her third studio album, “Don’t Forget Me,” which marked a homecoming to the outdoorsy folk of her youth.

It took five years, but singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers is finally home.

After a video of Pharrell Williams reacting to her first single “Alaska” went viral in 2016 — Rogers’ debut album, “Heard It In A Past Life,” blended folk and European dance pop with high production. Her sophomore record, “Surrender,” incorporated more alternative indie-rock.

Rogers released her third studio album, “Don’t Forget Me,” Friday, marking a homecoming to the outdoorsy folk of her youth.

A native of rural Maryland, Rogers grew up playing the banjo and singing folk music. “Don’t Forget Me” is stripped back with more country influences, perfect for a road trip drive. She seems most comfortable as she returns to her roots.

Comprising ten songs written over the course of five days and organized in chronological order, the introspective album showcases Rogers’ most vivid lyrics to date. A Harvard Divinity School graduate, Rogers proves her time studying has served her well.

At its core, “Don’t Forget Me” is a breakup album.

The first track, “It Was Coming All Along,” documents the end of a relationship that both partners were anticipating.

Following that, Rogers takes listeners through various stages of grief: drinking to cope (“Drunk”); resenting the former lover (“So Sick of Dreaming”); reminiscing on good times (“The Kill”); feeling guilt (“If Now Was Then”); wanting them back (“I Still Do”); feeling anger and defiance (“On & On & On”); seeking someone else (“Never Going Home”); accepting the relationship’s end (“All the Same”); and, finally, moving on (“Don’t Forget Me”).

Rogers’ masterful storytelling stands at the narrative’s forefront. Lyrics like “My world’s a honey shade of blue” and “You kept my secrets and stole my weaknesses” spark imagery and feeling, whereas others, like the diary-like lines in “If Now Was Then,” narrate specific events to build Rogers’ world and draw listeners in.

Rogers’ soulful voice marks perhaps the most impressive aspect of the record. Blending beautifully with the album’s simplistic production, Rogers’ unique ability shines through. Gravelly and on the verge of cracking (but never actually doing so), it’s clear that alternative folk is her forte.

Thematically, “Don’t Forget Me” ponders beginnings, endings and the passage of time. At moments, she wants to turn back time — in others, she wants to catch up with everything and everyone around her.

While most of the album wistfully looks at the past and present, it concludes by looking to the future with its standout track and lead single: “Don’t Forget Me,” for which the album is named.

The song’s verses begin with examples of Rogers’ friends at different stages of their love lives than she is. As time passes and those around her continue with their lives, Rogers can only hope that she catches up with them. She wants their memories of her to be just as strong as hers of them.

Here, Rogers is rueful but has a positive outlook on what’s to come. A perfect album finale, “Don’t Forget Me” evokes closure but also optimism. Having turned a stone in her discography by returning to her roots, Rogers’ career has much in store.

Whether a message to her past or future lovers, her non-single friends, or her fans — Rogers’ sentiments aren’t easy to forget.

Email: [email protected]
X: @mayaw0ng

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