Maggie Rogers's Long-Burning Fuse Finally Ignites on 'Don't Forget Me'

BY Oliver CrookPublished Apr 16, 2024


If Looney Tunes taught us anything, it's that there's a long time between lighting the fuse and blowing everything to smithereens. A lot happens while those sparks race to the moment of blast off, and it's often the most exciting part, this surge toward the big pay off. Watching Maggie Rogers's rise over the last two years has felt like racing alongside that lit fuse. Don't Forget Me is the soft-focus explosion.

After an impressive — if not a little overproduced — 2019 debut put her on the map, it was 2022's stellar Surrender that served as the point of ignition. It was slick, catchy and loaded with candid storytelling, but Rogers's rise was about more than her recorded offerings.

Applying her Harvard thesis on spirituality in public gatherings to the real world, Rogers made her concerts a transcendent experience. To attend a Rogers show is to be transformed, to feel a part of something bigger than yourself. It's ephemeral and mystical, but it's also a damn good time, a safe space to dance and sing and be who you are. From her own ever-expanding tours to headlining festival slots, she's consistently been a bright spark glowing brighter at every turn.

You don't have to watch the recent footage of her dancing with Springsteen at a Zach Bryan show for too long to see her command of the stage and her incredible pipes. She's a star in the making, ready to dominate, and all she really needs is a defining record: Don't Forget Me might just do the trick.

It has all the fuel necessary for a huge blow up: Charisma galore, hard-earned insights and an ACME box of choruses you just wanna scream at the top of your lungs. Album standout "Drunk" is quick-paced and danceable, a surefire winner for fans new and old alike. "Never Going Home" follows the same path, while closer "Don't Forget Me" shows there's a vulnerable person behind those big hooks, someone figuring it out in real time.

Don't Forget Me offers a unique form of nostalgia, with Rogers putting a new spin on otherwise-tired trends. Each song has a backward-facing feel to it, as she laments failed loves or lost friendships. While it's most obvious in songs like "So Sick of Dreaming," it's a well Rogers keeps drawing from. The title track has her confused by the state of her own life in relation to her friends' marriages or unequal relationships, a comparison that leaves no one feeling good.

Across Don't Forget Me, Rogers navigates the feeling of being robbed, as though she expected her career successes to solve her interpersonal problems (something anyone who followed the girlboss mentality of the 2010s can relate to). She isn't bitter that it hasn't, moreso surprised — and maybe a little let down. It's a conundrum that many find themselves facing: The dream career, the endless achievements,  don't mean the rest of life is turning out how we thought it would. You can have it all, and it still isn't quite enough.

Sonically, the record leans into the best moments of Surrender in its steady, Petty-style guitar that always leads to a sweeping pay-off come chorus time. It's all mid-tempo rock with a heavy dose of danceable beats, honing in and one-upping what made her last album so successful. Her voice, still so distinctive, nonetheless brings to mind Globe Sessions-era Sheryl Crow, aglow with golden hour light. 

Across its 10 songs, Don't Forget Me is as concise as it is exciting. Not a note is wasted, not a second under-utilized. What truly sets it apart is how comfortable Rogers seems embodying her full potential, something we've only seen glimpses of on previous records. She's confident — bordering on swaggering — but the feeling at the record's core never reads as anything but sincere. With Don't Forget Me, Rogers's fuse has officially reached the dynamite. 


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