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Maggie Rogers Reflects on ‘Don’t Forget Me’

Maggie Rogers graces the cover of ‘Don’t Forget Me’ in a Polaroid photograph. The singer-songwriter’s third studio album features 10 tracks and a more laid-back sound for the indie star. “I really wanted to make a record that felt like a Sunday driving record,” explained Rogers in an interview with the Associated Press. | Capitol Records

For the past eight years, Maggie Rogers has been a reliable, innovative voice in independent music. The singer-songwriter first gained attention in 2016 after a masterclass video of her and Pharrell Williams at New York University went viral. Since then, she has released two successful projects, never afraid to experiment with her sound. Now, the Grammy nominee is leaning back into her breezy roots with another memorable album, aptly titled Don’t Forget Me.

While Rogers has kept a consistent indie-folk sound for her past work, Don’t Forget Me sees her ease back into more relaxed, acoustic instrumentation while still producing upbeat tempos.

Rogers expertly sets the airy mood for the project with the opening track “It Was Coming All Along.” The introduction’s songwriting reflects Rogers’ chaotic present as she constantly has to let go of the past and move toward the future.

Despite the heavy subject, Rogers puts listeners at ease as she maintains a positive outlook through the rhythm. She drops in conversational anecdotes about the people keeping her in line through the uncertainty (“I’ve still got Nora on the phone”) and the hope that she maintains.  Although she isn’t sure where life will take her next, Rogers promises that it’s “coming all along,” as does the album through various stages of life and love.

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A major theme carried throughout the project is Rogers’ grappling with love in adulthood. On “Drunk,” she passionately shouts how she is stuck in a cycle of daydreaming and constantly “lost in wishful thinking.”

In a fitting contrast, Rogers confesses her frustrations and failed expectations with love on the next track, “So Sick Of Dreaming.” Roger’s songwriting and presence on the track further express her desire for pure love and contribute to her genuine prose. 

Through relatable lyrics and an excerpt of a phone call with a friend, Rogers relaxes listeners into her world of complex love, all while creating intimate connections with those tuning in.

Different forms of love bring about different forms of reflection as well. For Rogers, this means learning from past relationship mistakes and carrying herself differently in the future. Or, just accepting certain situations for what they are.

For instance, in “If Now Was Then,” Rogers reflects on the ‘what ifs’ that could have saved a relationship and the jealousy games that ensued afterward. But at the end of the day, both she and her partner “can’t take it back,” proving that sometimes people and things float by without a second chance.

Meanwhile, Rogers takes more playful approaches to taunting old exes who treated her poorly with “On & On & On,” or refusing to let go of someone who led her on with “Never Going Home.”

The most impactful tracks are found in “The Kill” and “I Still Do.”

“The Kill” sees Rogers discussing (once again) a failed relationship, but this time through different perspectives. While the audience is originally led to believe that the partner is the one responsible for ending the relationship—“I was all the way in / You were halfway out the door”—Rogers flips the wrongdoing upon herself in the chorus.

“You were an animal making your way up the hill / And I was going in for the kill,” Rogers reveals in the second iteration. The pronoun swap and strong overarching metaphor allow her to tackle the two’s shared blame for sabotaging the relationship. All the while, Rogers opens herself up for reconciliation and reflection all the while creating an addictive listen.

On the other hand, “I Still Do” sees Rogers at her most vulnerable and mature. As the slowest song on the album, she takes time to reflect on a tough decision: ending a relationship.

“Love is not a debt you pay…but it’s always a reason to risk it all,” she aches on the track. Although the outcome is devastating, and Rogers still holds love for her partner, she acknowledges that it is a necessary sacrifice. The well-realized track solidifies itself as one of the best, most impactful songs of Rogers’ career.

Rogers maintains her reflective prose until the end, closing with the album’s title track. The song employs the greatest parts of the project—conversational songwriting and raw emotion—to sum up Roger’s current look at love, or rather a plea for any form of it.

While Rogers has sifted through past relationships and learned lessons on previous tracks, she finds herself lowering her expectations at the climax. “Give me something I can handle,” she begins in the chorus, continuing “A good lover, or someone who’s nice to me.” The calm exit leaves Rogers in a position of acceptance and zen, as all she wants is for her next love to remember her.

Through upbeat production, authentic emotion and relatable yet expertly crafted songwriting, Maggie Rogers solidifies herself as one of the best current artists and storytellers with Don’t Forget Me.

This story was originally published on The CavChron Line on April 18, 2024.