Many fans of Maggie Rogers will know about her music from a well-known, viral video of Pharrell reacting to her music from a workshop at NYU a few months ago. And yesterday, the track featured in that video, "Alaska" has final been released.
"Alaska" is one of the rarities you will listen to these days that captures all the qualities that will someday make an artist big. While Maggie Rogers came from a folk music background, what she has created with "Alaska" seems to embody something more beyond just a folk track; it ties together elements that make it stand apart from any single genre.
The track begins with crisp snaps and a backing melody from a instrument I can't identify. It sounds too organic to be a synth, yet its ringing, hollow sound does not remind me of any instruments that come immediately to mind. It's not long before Rogers's voice enters, singing "I was walking though icy streams that took my breath away / Moving slowly through westward water over glacial plains". The texture of these vocals is slightly dissonant, and the chorus gorgeously captures the wistfulness that Rogers controls with her voice, with vocal harmonies that contribute to the controlled yet freely voiced emotions present in the song. Production-wise, "Alaska" is untroubled by special features, instead mixing together a simple blend of organic flute echoing in the background, the gentle caress of high piano chords, and a simple beat that gives the track a particularly energetic, optimistic quality. To put it simply, all of these effects make listening to "Alaska" one of the most spiritual and wholeheartedly unique experiences you will have heard all year.