Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Maggie Rogers’ Don’t Forget Me is a lively and reflective retreat

"Don't Forget Me"

Release date: 12 April 2024
Maggie Rogers Dont Forget Me cover
16 April 2024, 09:00 Written by Sam Franzini

Maggie Rogers is an overthinker.

Her alt-pop 2019 debut Heard It In A Past Life and rock-oriented follow-up, 2022’s Surrender, were tight collections with a strong lyricist behind them, capable of immersing herself in the present while reflecting on the past. “I’m scared and I’ve got all this anger trapped so deep inside,” she reveals on Surrender’s climax, “Shatter.” Written and recorded over only five days and including mostly first takes, it makes sense that Don’t Forget Me, Rogers’ latest record, has some of the most exhilaratingly free and honest work of her career so far.

Don’t Forget Me still mostly concerns itself with memory – you just have to look at its title, an anxious name for one’s third album. Its title track talks about a relationship, nice for the time being (“Take my money, wreck my Sundays / Love me ‘till your next somebody”), but what really matters to her is her work and legacy. Her only ask of her partner, who might simply be gone next week, is to remember her. Cleverly written and lilting, “The Kill” thinks, “One of these days I’m gonna wake up fresh and wipe all the past from my eyes,” before switching the players in a push-pull relationship in excellent Swiftian fashion. “If Now Was Then,” too, pulsing and deeply felt, longs for what Rogers would do with a lover if things were different (“Touch your chest / Break the bed”), a more reflective and sensitive version of Janet Jackson’s “If.”.

But Don’t Forget Me also addresses current issues, too – its opening track is a little on the nose, a return to oneself after being confronted with the turmoil of the world. “I feel like a deer in headlights when I turn on the TV,” she sings, a noncommittal but relatable feeling she’s brought in before. A telling line in the poppy “Never Going Home” reveals another strategy on how to cope: “Walking and the world starts turning, I can’t help looking for you at the bar.” When everything becomes intense, you’d be forgiven for returning to swiping. A left turn comes with the country-tinged “So Sick of Dreaming”, an eye-roll at hopeful delusion and chauvinistic behavior, recounting a time a man stood her up at the bar to see the Knicks play instead (they lost). “If you think that life without me’s like a heart attack, take a long look in the mirror and be good with that,” she taunts. Another thrillingly first-person song is “Drunk”, an on-the-run jam about hiding that ramps up in intensity, a moment clearly taken from a first-take session.

Rogers has a track record of clunky ballads (“Horses”, “Past Life”) which she unfortunately adds to here. “I Still Do” is a Disney-tinged halt in Don’t Forget Me’s momentum, with her atop only a piano to sing about a past love, generic and unlikely to be a heavily replayed album cut. (The folky “All The Same” is at least a little more in line with the album’s mood and direction.) Even the title track is oversung at times, but a generous reading of the record will ascribe this to the passionate intensity of her feelings. “Give me something I can handle,” she pleads.

Don’t Forget Me is an ultimately refreshing set from an artist who seems like she needs to reinvent with each album cycle, not because of outside pressure but for her own growth. Rogers is an artist’s artist – often sharing snippets of thoughts behind songs on Instagram, and mentioning that she wrote these particular ones pen to paper, fully formed. It’s always charming, but in its best moments, Don’t Forget Me is often phenomenally well-written, a solid show from an artist who’s likely to linger in your memory for a while.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next