A starry landscape of conflicted emotions.
Few people can claim to have left Pharrell Williams speechless, but that is exactly what, in a NYU music masterclass session just over a year ago, Maryland native Maggie Rogers did. Now, having released her first EP Now That The Light Is Fading last year and done the usual run of the talk show circuit, Rogers is back with ‘Split Stones’, a track which doesn’t push the boundaries on her previous work, but still cements her talent as something unique enough to deserve attention, for now.
Following a familiar approach of a simple beat and percussion, overlapped with a loop of Rogers’s breathing, the track works to showcase her lyrics, detailing a singer in turmoil and trying to decide how to best let herself, and her talent go. While it could be interpreted as an easy to relegate difficult relationship song (“and I can see us there/you staring at me/and me just praying for air”), and indeed this is vital for the song’s ability to reach a relatable wide audience, Rogers’s original message is clear in describing a yearning for more. Indeed, the verses seem a window into where Rogers, after the incredible year she’s had, might be struggling with where to take herself next, where she could experiment and what she might choose to make.
Where she begins then, with the opening verse’s line of “trying to make hits so we could play them out loud”, evoking the picture of the experimental classmates she has left behind, Rogers’s chorus feels more like questions, to us and to herself. Singing “if you could fight, if you could choose/if you could say all the things you wanted to”, and most importantly ‘like you had something to lose’. In abuild-upp of vocals strangely reminiscent of Coldplay’s ‘Sky Full of Stars’, its a sentiment that for Rogers is clearly her driving focus; to experiment with her voice and her talent until she has reached the heights she is capable of.
‘Split Stones’ is out now via Capitol Records