Maggie Rogers 2024
Photo: Maddy Rotman / Capitol Records

Maggie Rogers Turns Inward on ‘Don’t Forget Me’

Maggie Rogers’ latest album, Don’t Forget Me, is a soft and breezy return to the musician we met on her debut studio effort Heard It in a Past Life.

Don't Forget Me
Maggie Rogers
12 April 2024

“I’m still tryin’ to clean up my side of the street,” declares Maggie Rogers on the title track to her third studio album, Don’t Forget Me. Where many viewed her sophomore record Surrender as a release of eclectic energy built up over the isolation of the pandemic, Rogers’ latest LP is a soft and breezy return to the musician we met on her debut studio effort Heard It in a Past Life.

Indeed, Don’t Forget Me follows the classic third studio album concept from any up-and-coming singer-songwriter: She blew us away with her debut record, showed us what more she could do on her second, and now she’s ready to be herself on her third. “I think I’ve just come into this place where I really trust my process and my craft,” Rogers said recently in an interview. I think because of that, I was in a place where I was willing to just play.”

In a video on her social media, Rogers articulated her trilogy of albums thus far as following a majestic pattern of air, fire, and earth in that order. On Don’t Forget Me, the singer reflects deeply on her current place in life (she’ll turn 30 next week), comparing the state of her life to that of her friends who are getting married or in committed relationships. But she’s already wise enough to know what she wants and won’t settle for anything less. “She seems happy / Oh, but that’s not love to me,” she sings.

The album’s overall tone is nostalgic, if a bit depressive, and manages to find a happy medium between the two where it’s okay to acknowledge where you are in this very moment. This theme culminates in “So Sick of Dreaming”, a fun and mellow tune about being let down, whether by someone or something, yet again and just needing to laugh about it. On her Instagram,Maggie Rogers shared that the track was inspired by a friend’s experience and lamented that she hopes she’ll never truly be sick of dreaming. “I’m an optimist, always have been, but the older I get, the more I’ve tried to spot the difference between optimism and naivety,” she wrote.

The bridge of the song, which contains a voiceover reminiscent of early Taylor Swift, reminds us that while Rogers does have the stage presence and swagger of Joni Mitchell or Brandi Carlile, her music is still very much reflective of the millennial experience in a way that the culture desperately needs. “I’m drunk, but not drinkin’ / Lost in wishful thinkin’,” she ponders elsewhere.

Don’t Forget Me, which was recorded in just five days, is a throwback to a bygone era of popular music, when albums totaling ten tracks were considered long and sonic gimmicks were considered selling out. The record is more acoustic than any of Rogers’ previous work in a way that feels welcome and refreshing rather than an erasure of her first two albums as inauthentic. Rogers’ vocal and performance abilities may recall musicians of decades past, but she is still very much a product of her time.

“I wanted to make an album that sounded like a Sunday afternoon,” wrote Maggie Rogers on Instagram. “Worn in denim. A drive in your favorite car. No makeup, but the right amount of lipstick. Something classic … [something] to belt at full volume alone in your car, a trusted friend who could ride shotgun and be there when you needed her.” Dreaming of a perfect love with an ideal life and career that fills every unexplainable void within us can get tiring. But opening ourselves up to all feelings and experiences, beautiful or ugly, will always be something worth dreaming about.

RATING 8 / 10