Maggie Rogers enjoyed an amazing 2016, thanks a fortuitous visit from Pharrell. The Neptunes mastermind dropped in on Rogers’ NYU music production class one day, previewing students’ tracks and delivering constructive criticism. But while listening to Rogers’ song “Alaska,” Pharrell only offered a series of astonished expressions, as the track appeared to blow his goddamn mind. “I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that. That’s a drug for me,” he raved.
A clip of his astonished reaction quickly went viral and brought huge buzz to the 22-year-old singer. Not bad for an unassuming singer-songwriter accustomed to introducing herself as “a banjo player from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.”
Rogers now looks to capitalize on that promise with “On + Off,” a new track even more attuned to the kind of Top 40 ears that are Pharrell’s domain. Her knack for crossing intimate indie pop with UK garage beats would surely make Jamie xx smile. Rogers’ plainspoken lyrics reference an on-and-off-again relationship, with the production elegantly tone-painting that contradictory emotional swing.