“Alaska” is the track that single-handedly brought Maryland native Maggie Rogers into the music scene. The song was first discovered by musician and music producer Pharrell Williams at a Masterclass held at the university she was attending, NYU. The video of the masterclass became viral, and “Alaska” quickly gained popularity.
The song meshes together aspects of both the folk and dance music genre, creating a whole new sound fairly new to the music world. “Alaska” features sounds that Rogers recorded from some of her hiking trips, making the title and lyrics ever so more important as the story of her moving through “westward water” is amplified in every single pulse and beat of the tune.
“It’s the story of a time in my life when I was really lost, and in turn has provided so much clarity for me”, Rogers told Pitchfork magazine, and the lyrics are extremely powerful and pure. “And I waked off you/And I walked off an old me”, comes from Rogers tells music website Genius that these lyrics came about when she was telling others that when she went to Alaska, all the things that were happening in her life and she managed to walk it all off. The lyrics also allude to Rogers walking off an old relationship or friendship as well as being a different person at that time. “And now, breathe deep/I’m inhaling/You and I, there’s air in between/Leave me be/ I’m exhaling/ You and I, there’s air in between/ You and I, there’s air in between”. The chorus reinforces the act of breathing to calm down, and states that there’s now a space between Rogers and perhaps the aforementioned relationship that she has walked off. The second verse tackles the subject of identity and the ties it can have to another person: “Cut my hair so I could rock back and forth/Without thinking of you/Learned to talk and say/Whatever I wanted to”. Rogers told Genius that for her, hair is “literally old pieces of you and it’s really thick. I feel like things get caught in it…I find a lot of therapy in cutting my hair.” The verse talks about healing through changing your identity and altering aspects of an individual’s look that they associate with negative past relationships, ( like hair in this instance) and getting rid of it. It also discusses learning to be your own self and doing whatever you please.
The music video was released later in 2016, featuring Rogers herself as the protagonist, dancing in the woods very early in the morning, eventually leading to evening where she is surrounded by dancers dancing very happily in the natural surroundings. It was directed by Zia Rogers, and has over 10 million views.
Release Date: 15th June 2016
Songwriter/s: Maggie Rogers
Song length: 3:09
Album: Now That the Light Is Fading (2017)
Producer/s: Maggie Rogers, Doug Schadt
Music Video Release Date: 16th October 2016
Music Video Director: Zia Anger
Chart Rankings: #13 in Belgium, #13 in the US Billboard Adult Alternative Songs, and #18 in the US Billboard Hot Rock Songs.