Allowing your heart to take the lead can be a scary decision. But once you get the hang of it, the world around you changes, often for the better. Singer-songwriter, Maggie Rogers, ponders this way of living in her latest album, Surrender. In twelve enchanting indie-pop tracks, she explores intense feelings, perpetual yearning, and navigates love through the confines of time. All for the purpose of honoring her natural inclination toward filling her days with contentment and satisfaction. Her vocals are bright and tenacious, and at times, ominous. Though her message — a climactic, rock-tinged ode to prioritizing our happiness — never wavers!
Genuine connection with other human beings really makes up for this surreal phenomena we call life. So much so that it can feel like there’s no time to waste! There is a sense of urgency in finding “the one” and in forming close bonds with people who are loyal. In the vivacious “Shatter,” she resents the passage of time and the losses that come with it: “I just wish that I could hear a new Bowie again.”
She treats time as an agent of regret, a concept inherently against camaraderie. Even the first line of the gentle ballad ”Begging For Rain” emphasizes the need to act on your feelings quickly: “The more you wait, the more you break.” When you’re face to face with despair, it can feel like a lifetime before you’re met with peace. So, why hesitate at all?
On the contrary, ”Be Cool” encourages us to enjoy the present moment and embody a sort of childlike spirit. Having someone by your side who reminds you to take it easy, especially when you’re “sick of the sound of self-importance” is priceless. She envelopes time in her own little world with someone special in “Symphony.” A beautiful synth wonderland that serves as a temporary oasis from the horrors of the outside.
In line with the album title, Rogers often croons about succumbing to temptation. The desire is potent on the second single “Want Want,” an electro-pop jam with grungy drums. She belts about the power of a juicy slow-burn love affair, and the intensity rising with each passing day: “Might die if you can’t live just to taste it. Meanwhile, “Honey” represents how the aftermath of getting what you want isn’t always so sweet.
Every little drawback stacks on top of one another until you have no choice but to either stay complacent or break free. “Horses” elicits imagery of riding off into the sunset, wild and free of worry. It’s something she is determined to do even if she’s forced to do it alone: “I can’t wait up for you today / I’m leaving, are you coming with me?” It begs the question, is desire enough? Is it ever okay to sacrifice your freedom in fear of heartache?
A personal favorite is the opening track, “Overdrive.” It’s got a cinematic, coming-of-age feel to it. The lyrics are about realizing your worth in an unfulfilling relationship, and escaping a life of false hope. “You told me that I was all you could see, but you kept me in the dark.”
Making a strong return from her studies at Harvard Divinity School, Maggie Rogers and the messages she conveys in Surrender are the perfect summer listen!