Reviewed by Ian Phillips.
By Maggie Rogers, Capitol Records/Debay Sounds 2022.
Maggie Rogers is an American singer/songwriter/producer and Surrender is the first full album of her work that I’ve heard.
The only other time she had come to my attention was with her single Alaska which was written in 2016 and certified RIAA Gold after charting in the Billboard Top 100 Rock Singles at 18 and AAA chart at 13.
Surrender is Maggie’s second album following on from the success of Heard It In A Past Life (2019) which reached number two in the main charts and number one on the alternative charts in America – in addition to charting well around the world including climbing to number eight in Australia.
Surrender, which was released in July, has already reached number two in the US Alternative charts and 12 in the mainstream.
The role of the producer and studio in Surrender is much more noticeable than for Thelma Plum’s album.
Maggie takes on co-production along with Kid Harpoon (Harry Styles, Shawn Mendes) and studio effects play an important, but not overly dominant, role in the sound of the album.
Maggie’s vocals are often immense and soar over, under, and around a cacophony of coloured synths, a myriad of beats, and the infusion of samples that sometimes run the risk of overcrowding the songs.
Rogers can be lyrically direct, sometimes a little too blunt, and the album deserves its explicit rating, but I didn’t feel that the language was over the top.
While the studio is more dominant on this album than on Thelma’s, it’s still the songs that are the important focus, not the effects.
There are wonderful standout tracks like Anywhere With You, a co-write with Holden Jaffe, which is a road song but there is some tension because both parties on the road are searching for something different.
“You tell me you want everything, you want it fast, but all I’ve wanted is to make something fucking last.”
The opening track Overdrive sets the tone for the album brilliantly.
It’s a lament for a failed relationship sung over a wistful, possibly even sad, piano.
Rogers’ huge, almost guttural, vocal is dripping with despair.
Surrender is a good album and it’s encouraged me to explore Maggie Rogers’ other releases.