Maggie Rogers is steadily building toward the release of her new album Surrender. Her singles so far have shown a breadth of songwriting and styles as she meanders her way around the treacherous territory of love, life and everything in between those two fabled posts.
Given that Patti Smith pretty much ensured that no other piece of music would ever be called ‘Horses’ thanks to her defining masterpiece, Rogers strolls into fabled terrain with this outing. And sadly, it is a terrain that leaves her wanting this time out.
In her mournful tale of love lost, there is an odd repetitiveness and a derivative sense of a hundred thousand songs that have pilfered the same well-trodden territory for the best part of the last eternity. There will always be ample room for more, but somehow Rogers doesn’t quite shoulder out a worthwhile niche with this half indie half country mix. However, you can’t hit a six with every ball and so far, Rogers has offered up more than enough to suggest that there is plenty to cheer about with Surrender.
Sadly, the crux of ‘Horses’ seems to be a pastiche of how the modern cigarette smoking, sex mourning, possession swapping breakups should be. There is a trend in indie love-lost songs whereby being sexually explicit seems to be a shortcut to faux sincerity. Nicotine supping and memories of head just seem a little bit conceited in search of edginess now that it’s been done a hundred times over, and the simple chords that back it on this occasion do little to set it apart.
Nevertheless, the song is a harmless outing that certainly won’t disrupt the flow of what has been offered up for Surrender to date. It’s just this time, she’s led a horse to the waters of folky love, but she hasn’t made it drink. Harmless enough, but it isn’t her best. The message is there, but on this occasion, it hasn’t been facilitated with anything stand-out.
You can check out all of the tracks she has offered up for Surrender below. And there are certainly some gems in the mix. The album is due for release July 29th.