Review: Maggie Rogers’ “Surrender”

Maggie Rogers’ new album “Surrender” is out everywhere now!

If anybody asks where I am, just assume I’m experiencing the feral joy that only a brand-new Maggie Rogers album can inflict on me. With her new album Surrender, Maggie tells stories about seeking escape through allowing herself to let go and just feel everything. It’s a gorgeous album, transcendent in both its production and its storytelling as Maggie waves the white flag above her heard for all of us.

Since the release of her critically acclaimed debut album Heard It in a Past Life in 2019, Rogers has been quite busy- having just graduated with her Masters in Religion and Public Life from Harvard’s Divinity School while simultaneously writing and producing her sophomore album. There’s a certain level of authenticity that Maggie continues to bring not only to her art but to her life as well that makes people gravitate towards her and root for her in every endeavor. And I truly believe that this authenticity bleeds through into her lyrics and her production as well. Let’s break it all down now!

Album opener “Overdrive” feels like an open road song- that start of a road trip kinda banger that sets the mood for what’s to come and feels like the utter freedom of the open highway before you. Rogers’ voice feels massive right from the first note, deepening her register on this record in ways we have never heard prior- in fact it’s almost reminiscent of Florence Welch at times in her ability to flip from her head to chest voice. “I don’t wanna do this again if you’re gon’ break my heart, I’m tearing at the seams, can’t believe that it’s gotta be this hard, you told me that I was all you could see, but you kept me in the dark,” she belts out on the bridge of a broken relationship as the production intensifies. “Overdrive” is an evolutionary piece, bridging the gap between the folk influenced sounds of her past and leading us into the liberation to come.

“Overdrive” by Maggie Rogers

“Anywhere With You” is an absolute standout and is quite possibly a contender for my Top 10 Songs of 2022 so far- both raw and exuberant in its storytelling and production. Maggie’s vocals are absolute perfection here as she tries to help her companion out of their lowest point in search of something bigger than themselves. “You tell me that forever couldn’t come too soon, If I’m gonna lose my mind, I’m gonna lose it with you, You tell me you want everything, you want it fast, but all I’ve ever wanted is to make something fucking last,” their outlooks on what’s to come may differ but she makes it clear that what’s most important is experiencing this journey together. The song’s crescendo is truly breathtaking, and the production choices made here by Del Water Gap, Kid Harpoon, and Maggie herself are, to put it quite plainly, fucking phenomenal.

“Anywhere With You” by Maggie Rogers

Channeling the grunginess of 90s rock and almost Springsteen-esque in the feeling it evokes comes “Shatter”, another incredible feat brought to us through the magical collaboration of Rogers and Kid Harpoon. It somehow encapsulates a handful of emotions- love, joy, fear, anger and confusion, all mixed into one song with a chaotic production to match it and a vocal so raw, it feels ethereal. Her authenticity continues to bleed through here with the adorable cracks in her voice bringing such character to her performance that it leaves me begging for more with every single listen. “I don’t really care if it nearly kills me, I’d give you the world if you asked me to, I could break a glass just to watch it shatter, I’d do anything just to feel with you“. She’s on an entirely different level.

“Shatter” by Maggie Rogers

Maggie’s lyrics read like gorgeous prose in pieces like “Begging For Rain”, which tells the story of that feeling of being in a dark place and focusing on what could have been different while begging for what could bring you relief. “You work all day to find religion, and end up standing in your kitchen, wondering ’bout the way it’s always been, I’m a firefighter and I can’t stop it, they fan the flames higher than rockets, and leave you standing on an open plane, begging for rain,” that feeling of grief is difficult to shake and can cause you to miss out on moments and people in your life that become casualties in the wake of your pain. It’s quite solemn but that’s what makes it all that much more poignant. Sonically, this track is more stripped back and a welcome reprieve from the string of bangers surrounding it in the tracklist.

“Begging For Rain” by Maggie Rogers

As the album heads towards its conclusion, we reach “Symphony”, which truly feels like an exhale from the rising tension that comes before it. It’s a moment of liberation, of transcendence, and a reminder to grasp onto that feeling as we continue on with our lives. “So just be here with me, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be, and there’s a symphony every time you look my way, I know we’re under slept and life’s a promise that never ends, but you can handle it. Take a breath,” she urges her partner to surrender to this feeling of peace that she has found for herself in their relationship. It’s a moment for us to take that breath as well- to take in what we’ve experienced and surrender to our emotions as Maggie transitions into the album’s final track.

“Symphony” by Maggie Rogers

What Maggie Rogers has done with Surrender is what most artists merely dream of- capturing the overwhelming mess of emotions that one experiences in life and refusing to let it take her under. Instead, she uses all of the pain as a lesson, finding her own motivation to continue on and in surrendering to all that she’s faced- she found true liberation.

Surrender is out now on all streaming platforms!

Fresh Brewed Playlist #15

Niki’s new album “Nicole” is out everywhere now!

“Backburner” by Niki was an automatic standout from her fantastic new album Nicole– recalling the feeling of neglect she’d become used to when in love with her partner. “I’ll always be in your corner, ’cause I don’t feel alive ’til I’m burnin’ on your backburner,” the feelings of neglect are almost okay as long as her partner still comes to her eventually, even if pushed aside for the time being. That feeling of waiting to be prioritized by the one you love is heartbreaking, and unfortunately quite relatable for many listeners. The Indonesian singer songwriter even wonders if it was her upbringing and her father’s “wandering eyes” that have instilled this feeling in her. It’s a gorgeously written song and Niki’s storytelling ability really shines through here in a poignant way that makes me want to hear way more going forward!

“Backburner” by Niki

Ruel’s newest single “YOU AGAINST YOURSELF” is the first single from the Australian singer’s debut album and another fantastic release. Starting the album cycle off with a sense of introspection, he offers up an anthem about overcoming self-sabotage- begging his loved one to let him be there for them in their time of need. “I can’t save you now, Oh, why’s it always you against yourself,” he sings on the chorus- beginning to lose hope that he can break down this barrier between them. Sonically, it’s a synth heavy pop banger with great listenability and the production by Sammy Witte and M-Phazes is so smooth that Ruel’s vocals lay perfectly on top of it. The 19-year-old singer’s voice has never sounded better, showcasing the gravel in his tone along with a falsetto in the chorus that solidify him as one of the most talented male vocalists in music right now. I for one, cannot wait to see what his debut album sounds like when it’s finally released!

“YOU AGAINST YOURSELF” by Ruel

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #15 below!

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Fresh Brewed Playlist #14

Inhaler’s new single “These Are The Days” is out everywhere now!

So being away for a bit means one major thing: Lots of new music has been released in the last several weeks so we have plenty to catch up on. Grab your morning coffee and let’s get rolling!

Dublin based rock band Inhaler’s newest single “These Are The Days” is the anthemic summer single ready to rock an arena near you. Over the years, Inhaler have proven themselves to be one of the most exhilarating new bands to emerge in years and continue their winning streak here with this newest release. “These are the days that follow you home, these are the days that kiss you on your broken nose, these are the days I don’t miss the feeling of being alone, thеse are the days,” the chorus feels nostalgic in that “Glory Days” kinda way. It’s the cliche that these are the best days of their lives together as a band- and yet they make it feel so fresh and cool. The production, like all of their releases so far, is top notch- carrying the sound of the bands that have come before them and making it modern. If Inhaler is the future of rock, we are in damn good hands.

“These Are The Days” by Inhaler

“In The Kitchen” by Reneé Rapp is a stunningly haunting piece of music that focuses on a moment from her relationship that has now ended and how alone she now feels. “So I’ll dance with your ghost in the living room and I’ll play the piano alone, but I’m too scared to delete all our videos, ’cause it’s real once everyone knows, you could’ve at least shown me some decency, done me a favor and packed up your clothes, falling in love, no, it ain’t for the weak, so don’t try this at home,” the chorus punches a hole into your chest and rips your heart out before you can even catch a breath. Her vocal performance is raw and gritty, an absolutely unforgettable performance that stays with you long after the first listen as she struggles to move past the memory of their love in fear of making the loneliness that much more real. It’s heartbreakingly relatable and Rapp uses her acting chops to heighten the emotions even more so in the gorgeously shot music video below.

“In The Kitchen” by Reneé Rapp

The Lost Youth’s newest single “Headfirst” is a raging pop banger that grabbed me from the first 10 seconds- and frankly if you don’t feel the same, I highly suggest getting your hearing checked. The production is slick, reminiscent of the past and yet so perfectly modern. The lyrics are sharp, about the vulnerable early stages of a relationship when you’re afraid of ruining things. “I play my part and I don’t play games, what if I go too far, could I lose everything,” the chorus is anthemic, ready to be screamed at their concerts and sure to be a fan favorite. With “Headfirst” only being their second release, they have an incredible potential to become an absolute sensation around the world. I’m so excited to see what this duo have in store for us next!

“Headfirst” by The Lost Youth

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #14 below!

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Scalding Hot: David Alexander’s “Her”

David Alexander’s new single “Her” is out everywhere now!

After a bit of a hiatus, Brew Music Friday is finally back and today- I bring you the next edition of “Scalding Hot”! On today’s segment I bring you the newest release from an up-and-coming singer songwriter and producer named David Alexander, whose newest release “Her” is his most promising yet.

I first discovered David’s work on TikTok quite a few months ago when he began to tease all of the newest music he had been working on in his World Domination series. Each tease was so damn good that it made me constantly come back to see if he had posted more. I went back- over and over- waiting very impatiently for when I could blast these songs in my car. And now the first of what is to come has finally been released- so let’s break it down!

“Her” is an absolute bop- the kind of song that makes you want to jump around your room while screaming it at the top of your lungs. Alexander, who wrote and produced the track along with Benzi, does an incredible job building tension with the production which finally releases in the explosive chorus. “You’ve been calling me up, late night reminding me of everything we don’t have, it’s so embarrassing, I can’t hеlp but call it what it is, you’re just somebody I kissed last night, looking for somеthing to shut off my mind, all I’ve been thinking about is her, and you’ll never be her,” David sings on the chorus, his voice carrying a grit to it.

While the production is definitely joy ride worthy, the lyrics have an emotional depth to them that place you right in David’s shoes. The song tells the story of someone heartbroken over a girl and unable to move on, so he goes out to be with someone else who is nothing more than a rebound for him. He recognizes the toxicity of his actions, but he can’t help it- and like all of the best kinds of art, it is extremely personal.

“Her” by David Alexander

“Her” is David Alexander’s first release since November 2021’s “Dreams Cost Cash”- having taken some time for himself in his first year of college to just allow himself to write and discover the sound he was searching for. Between this song and the others that he has teased along the way- it definitely sounds like he’s found it. He knows exactly how to use his voice, at times smooth as hell and yet gritty when he needs it to be. I’m automatically reminded of Luke Hemmings’ voice when trying to think of who I could possibly compare him too.

With the release of “Her” also comes Alexander’s announcement that he will take time off from school to fully pursue his music, so if you are looking to follow an artist from the beginning of their journey through the time their art finally blows up- now is the time to get on board with David Alexander. Make sure to follow his socials below to stay up to date on more music news!

“Her” is out now on all streaming platforms!

Are there any other artists you’d like to see featured on the next “Scalding Hot”? Send me your recommendations on Instagram today!

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