Sway-Worthy Indie Pop
After receiving recognition from Pharrell Williams with her song “Alaska,” Maggie Rogers was signed to a major record label and is now debuting her first record, Now That The Light Is Fading.
The EP opens with an acapella number, “Color,” in which the first lyrics include the words from the album title, “now that the light is fading,” and go on to colorfully describe the sunset turning to dark. The style in which it is sung can be best described as jazz standard “crooning.” “Alaska” begins hopeful with an upbeat conga and softening synths. The chorus is in true pop form with high, breathy notes no more than a whole-step apart, accompanied by a dance beat. It’s simply composed, but catchy. The addition of guitars toward the end of the track help it to build, as it then ends with a mirror image of the opening. “On + Off” starts with mid-range piano and a subtle, pleasing low bass vibration that uses alternating fifths. The vocals aren’t all that interesting, but, paired with the dreamy atmosphere, the bass, synth and guitar, there’s definitely something special there — a sound achieved that makes this a standout track. “Dog Years” is probably the most generic-sounding track of the album. It relies too heavily on a dull, done-before pop melody with pulsing synths and soft beats, until the bridge where dream-pop instrumentation enters, after which, the track starts to come together. Closing song “Better” starts synth-heavy in a minor key, giving it a darker, more ethereal tone.
Now That The Light Is Fading certainly holds its own within the indie-pop world, but it doesn’t add much to the conversation. With artists like Gavin Turek and Alina Bea bringing new, inspired material to the pop scene in Los Angeles, and Canadian indie-pop groups like Milk & Bone doing the same for their locale, the expectations for innovation are certainly high. Nonetheless, Maggie Roger’s EP is a well curated collection of cohesive songs that are catchy in their own right. Take a listen and you’ll find yourself swaying endlessly from start to finish — maybe even standing up to break into dance at some point.