Maggie Rogers’ Newfound Freedom in ‘Don’t Forget Me’

Maggie Rogers’ latest album, “Don’t Forget Me,” is a poignant tour through the five stages of grief, brought together by a symphony of drum kicks and soft guitar.

Maggie Rogers’ April 12 release “Don’t Forget Me” meticulously describes the intricacies of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — or the five stages of grief. 

Across 10 tracks and 35 minutes, Rogers encapsulates the highs and lows of a faltering summertime relationship. “Don’t Forget Me” is a road trip album that takes listeners on a journey to healing. 

Rogers, alongside Chicago-born songwriter and producer Ian Firchuk, wrote and recorded the album across five winter days at Electric Lady Studios, according to the Associated Press

Each stage of grief is discussed over the course of two songs, beginning with denial. 

Rogers introduces the album with “It Was Coming All Along.” Keyboard, drum kicks and faint chimes make the song a cinematic summer drive with the windows down. The lyrics describe youthful bliss, repeating the titular phrase to acknowledge the ending of her relationship. 

“So fast, it’s fading out of view / I’m flying long past twenty-two / So high, can’t find the moment it went wrong / But it was coming all along,” Rogers sings. 

Rogers is inebriated by the hope of repairing the connection in “Drunk.” The instrumentation slowly builds in speed following the singer’s spiral of wallowing emotions. Slow guitar plucking into fast-paced strums in the final chorus mimic Rogers’ transition from denial to anger. 

Tired of a broken heart, Rogers sings about wanting to have a lover to aid her lovesickness in “So Sick Of Dreaming.” Elongated vowels and assertive inflection accompany the ‘70s-rock-inspired composition turning the track into a Fleetwood Mac-esque tune. But it’s the voice message interruption in the bridge that distinguishes the song from the rest.

“So he calls me up fifteen minutes before the reservation / And says he’s got Knicks tickets instead / I mean, I was at the restaurant,” Rogers says. “So I took the steaks to go, I had two martinis at the bar / And went to meet my friends down the street / What a loser / And by the way, the Knicks lost.” 

Reflective anger guides “The Kill.” The track starts a descent into vulnerability but preserves the album’s series of upbeat, catchy tunes. Rogers acknowledges the impact people leave on each other by placing the blame of a broken relationship on both parties and their pasts. 

“You were all the way in, I was halfway out the door / Oh, you were an animal making your way up the hill / And I was going in for the kill,” Rogers sings. 

Rogers bargains with herself by ​reminiscing on missed opportunities. “If Now Was Then” is swollen with regretful lyrics and instrumentation. The song is nearly flawless, succeeding in amplifying Rogers’ slightly offbeat backing vocals, which make it one of the album’s strongest tracks. Rogers echoes herself, doubling-down on the regret of not sharing her feelings earlier. 

Still in love with her former partner, the tear-jerking “I Still Do” is the peak of the album’s vulnerability. Piano carries Rogers’ pain-filled, occasionally-shaky voice without overpowering her. 

“‘Cause love is not a debt you pay / It’s not something you can give away / Love is not the final straw / But it’s always a reason to risk it all,” Rogers croons.

“On & On & On” has a repetitive charm, imitating memories on replay. The track acknowledges her lover’s distance, blending anger, bargaining and depression with her longing voice layered over guitar and drums. 

“Never Going Home” bridges the previous four stages of grief with newfound acceptance. There’s a freedom to the track as Rogers details going to the bar with her friends instead of wallowing at home. The singer emphasizes the word “I” within the track, focusing listeners’ attention to her healing. 

Finally acknowledging her relationship is over, the simplistic “All The Same” mends a broken heart. The folk track is reminiscent of her debut EP “Now That The Light Is Fading,” but with matured vocals. 

“Until one day, you wake up and you realize / That what you see is what you know / And still you wish for one more kiss / A moment’s bliss from a lover you’ve always known,” Rogers sings.

An album of grief, love and life lessons culminate in the titular track. Impeccably placed as the last track, “Don’t Forget Me” ties the previous nine into a neat box of growing pains. The track is meant to be sung in concert with others — heartbroken, in love or simply enamored with life. 

“Maybe I was bitter from the winter all along / Maybe there’s a stranger standing, holding out for love / Just waiting on the next street / Just for me,” Rogers sings. 

“Don’t Forget Me” is an album about more than just heartbreak, it’s about learning how to grow from pain. 

Rogers has a knack for fluently conveying the nuances of life through her lyrics. While divided, the stages of grief ebb and flow into each other, meeting at the crossroads of her journey. 

“Don’t Forget Me” is now streaming on all major platforms.

Featured image courtesy of Capitol Records.

Xavier Barrios

Xavier Barrios