Lana Del Rey, Maggie Rogers, boygenius Team for All Things Go Festival

Maggie Rogers – Don’t Forget Me
Capitol Records

It would have been easy for Maggie Rogers to embrace the fully-formed pop star trap that launched her career. 

After her whimsical electro-pop debut “Alaska” impressed Pharrell (and subsequently went viral), she landed a major-label deal and a coveted guest spot on SNL. But following the release of her catchy but overly produced debut, 2019’s Heard It in a Past Life, Rogers pivoted to rock star mode: With her 2022 follow-up, Surrender, she sharpened her storytelling and basked in the existential questions that surfaced while studying at Harvard Divinity School. Now, with her third studio album, Don’t Forget Me, Rogers hones in on more intimate moments.

Written over five days and touted to mirror the feeling of a “Sunday afternoon,” the record harnesses the ‘90s folk-pop leanings of artists like Michelle Branch and Natalie Imbruglia, along with the tender gut-punch of Bonnie Raitt. Rogers daydreams through the unwavering vulnerability of a journal entry, capturing fleeting moments with a cinematic rom-com lens: the anxiety of a sexy romp (“Drunk”), the sweet devastation of goodbyes (“It Was Coming All Along”), the longing for a doomed romance (“I Still Do”). 

There are still homages to her beginnings: “If Now Was Then,” which could have appeared on the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack, evokes the huffy, breathy lilt of “Alaska,” while mid-tempo rocker “Never Going Home” reaches the soaring, hooky heights of prior anthems like “Love You for a Long Time” and “Light On,” though with the edge of ‘80s Fleetwood Mac. Still, a throbbing ache remains her throughline, as Rogers pries memories open and examines where things went astray. “You kept my secrets and stole my weaknesses / In your white T-shirts, but I couldn’t fill / The shoes you laid down for me / From the girls that came before,” she seethes with frustration over the jittery guitar riffs of “The Kill.” 

With Don’t Forget Me, Rogers sounds fully confident abandoning the glossiness of her earliest work—she doesn’t need studio flourishes to bolster her transcendent songwriting. – GRADE: A-

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