We live in an age of viral memes that launched Bhad Babie and other undeserving and untalented delinquents to fame. When a picture of Maggie Rogers’ stunned face after listening to her song “Alaska” with Pharrell Williams at NYU, it launched the career of a musical diamond in the rough of internet meme culture.
Rogers is a musical genius, there’s no denying that. Pharrell compared her individualism and vision to that of the Wu-Tang Clan. That has been reinforced with the release of Rogers’ debut Album Heard It in a Past Life that came out last Friday. One of the standouts of this album is “Overnight,” which Rogers’ calls a “love/heartache/panic/ecstasy letter” to her old self.
“Overnight” is a synth and drum-heavy 70s-feeling jam about reflection on the past and preparation for the future. The song starts with a synth made up from frog and glacier samples. Rogers recalls her past, “I remember way back, late night, throwback/sitting on the front lawn, talking/when I lost it, and oh, I lost it.”.As the song goes on a heavy four on the floor beat pushes the song forward. She realizes that life is constantly changing but she’s not. “And I’ve always said/I’d never let myself hold on this long,” this gives the song a melancholic turn. It doesn’t last too long because Rogers becomes adamantly optimistic in the chorus.
The chorus is the highlight of this song, not only lyrically but musically, it feels like Rogers is breaking new ground. The chorus is brought to life with a funk-inspired bass and a quick hi-hat. What brings the chorus to perfection is the layered ad-lib of Rogers’ voice, making it feel complete. Lyrically, Rogers has a change of heart, “‘Cause people change overnight/Things get strange, but I’m alright.”.A song of depressing nostalgia suddenly becomes an anthem of resilience. This resilience shines through the rest of the song, and throughout the rest of Rogers’ album.
Photo by Andy Witchger