Unrestrained, wild + free
Emma Way
09:11 27th July 2022

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Capturing the intensity of the past two years, Maggie Rogers finds comfort in the chaos of her sophomore record Surrender. The follow-up to her critically-acclaimed and much-loved debut Heard It In A Past Life — which earned the singer-songwriter-producer a Grammy nomination — the Surrender sessions saw Rogers relocating to the cliffs of Maine after a lengthy tour cycle.

With life ground to a halt and a sense of stillness dominating, she uncovered an opportunity to reconnect to her youthful and instinctive love of music creation. Later, Maggie Rogers would go on to record the second album she had penned across three different studios: Electric Lady in New York City, Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios near Bath, England and Sid’s Palace in Scarborough, Maine.

Authentically her, Surrender is the sound of Rogers fully letting go and breaking through a wall of numbness, something she longs for within single 'Horses': “I wish I could feel like that for just a minute” she sings, visualising the animal’s independence with raw integrity. The song, recorded in one take, expresses that immediacy. Vocally, she seems to free so much of herself here, while on tracks like the abrasive 'Shatter', she conveys an explosiveness. “I’m scared" and “I’ve got all this anger trapped so deep inside that started burning the summer my heroes died” she sings.

Throughout Surrender you can’t help but compare the contrast in production styles between the Maryland artist’s two records. 'Anywhere With You' confirms this album’s darker production style with its hard-edged passages and pounding drums confirming it’s not a one-track wonder but a continually revisited theme. “All I ever wanted was to make something fucking last” delivers some of her most emotional punch to date.

Lust is also a central part to Surrender: even Rogers' social media and merchandise are plastered with hot-line-themed branding: “passion, desire, love” is written in bold italics, characterising a transcendence through sex.

In contrast, the soulful light-heartedness of 'Be Cool' emerges confidently midway through Surrender, while 'Symphony' feels like a boiling over of unrestrained instrumentation with Rogers assuring herself to “take a breath” during the track’s most tranquil seconds. But even the tranquility has fire beneath it: on 'Begging for Rain' — which comes right on time after a flurry of upbeat songs — the acoustic track with atmospheric soundscapes unveils Roger’s dry humour (“Give my rage a babysitter”).

Expressive piano fills and warped bass on 'Want Want' allow Rogers' to truly free herself once more as she admits to falling back into old ways of desire. The celebratory track, co-produced with Kid Harpoon and Del Water Gap, is boosted even more when Rogers’ wailing voice is stacked over driving bass. Here, as on the majority of Surrender, Maggie Rogers sound unrestrained, wild and free. 

Surrender arrives 29 July via Capital/Polydor Records.

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Photo: Press