About three months ago I heard a song, and I knew it was one of those songs. You know, the ones that seem bigger than a single melody with words and a beat and lyrics? The kind that sound poised to interrupt a whole year’s worth of pop and remake it in three minutes. It reminded me of the way I felt when I first heard Lorde, though it didn’t necessarily sound like Lorde.
It didn’t sound like anyone I could think of, the song seemed to exist in its own vacuum, incorporating beat, rhythm, and harmonies into a completely new glitchy folk synergy. It was like the best simple and sweet parts of folk music mixed with the momentum and rush of dance music.
The song was “Alaska” by a New York-based musician named Maggie Rogers, and it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who was blown away on a first listen of Rogers’ work. Actually, as the internet goes, I was a couple months late. But it wasn’t my fault, up until mid-December “Alaska” was the only song Maggie had released.
Her career infamously launched when Pharrell was offering constructive criticism at a master class for NYU students at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Hearing Maggie’s initial single made him tear up. He had zero notes for her song, compared it to the Wu Tang Clan and called her “singular.”