Album Review: Maggie Rogers – Surrender

Maggie Rogers was thrust into the spotlight six years ago through viral fame. What followed was an EP, a debut full length record, lots and lots of touring, and a compilation of music. Rogers gives her second full length record, Surrender, to the world with twelve new tracks for us to enjoy after pausing through the pandemic, writing lots (nearly 100 songs), and regaining her love of creating music. And Rogers certainly sounds like she enjoyed making it, with infectious dance pop and roaring rock numbers, as well as several moments of introspection. 

Announcing her record with a video trailer we were given an insight into what will be coming… 

“We were 18. We were 23. I’m 27 now. Here’s all I have. It’s yours to take. Love. Hate. Anger. Feral joy. This is the story of what happened when I finally gave in.” 

It was quite an announcement and one which made fans very excited indeed. 

Lead single “That’s Where I Am” has powerful vocals alongside a changing landscape of music with synths, hand claps, and an acoustic break partway. With a good chorus and an upbeat feel, it is sure to withstand the repeated summer plays it will receive, as will the second single “Want, Want” which is possibly the most “pop” of songs I’ve heard from Rogers with a slightly tongue twisting chorus and a spark of that “feral joy” spoken of in the trailer.  

The biggest criticism aimed at her debut was the sheer number of co-producers giving the record an almost muddy feel. Whilst this time the record is co-produced by Rogers and Kid Harpoon, some tracks still feel over produced for my liking and I wonder how the songs would be if stripped down a little, not entirely of course, but with a few of the gauzy flourishes taken away (“Be Cool” and “I’ve Got A Friend”). 

Several songs do really stand out, the aforementioned “That’s Where I Am”, “Horses” with it’s powerful call to find the freedom you want and let it all go, and the absolute rocking “Shatter” which I’ve spent the day humming. 

A second studio album can be a tricky beast to navigate but in the case of Maggie Rogers, she seems to have found more of a personal voice here than her debut. Whether this is down to the multitude of co-producers on her first record muddying the waters or perhaps she has found her way, through the pandemic, by working out her voice and the space she wants to occupy here and now.

Ulrike Gotts