Song of the Day #5,281: ‘I’ve Got a Friend’ – Maggie Rogers

I’ll be out of town over the next two weeks, so I’m turning the blog reins over to somebody better equipped to count down some of the year’s best albums: my nephew Daniel.

I’ve featured Daniel’s own music on the blog before, and now I’m excited for the chance to appreciate some of his influences.

So without further ado, here’s Daniel…

Hey everybody! Long-time reader, occasional commentator, and now nepotism baby, here, known around these parts of Montauk as the Cool Guy (Daniel). I’m honored to be given the opportunity to share my 10 favorite albums of this year over the course of these next two weeks.

I was truly humbled when my uncle Clay reached out to me asking if I’d be interested. In many ways my journey toward being able to evaluate the way in which art affects me personally and then further being able to articulate that in a way that others might be able to share my connection started with Meet Me in Montauk.

I owe this blog with the discovery of my favorite artist of all time, Childish Gambino. I’ll never forget sitting in the car reading Clay’s SOTD #1,494 for ‘Outside,’ the album opener on Camp. What’s funny in returning to that entry is that the song really only serves as a backdrop to his passionate feelings on the Emmy nominations that year and what they got wrong. I too, strongly, agree that Community was continually snubbed. However, Clay’s relentless scrutiny of The Big Bang Theory and strong declaration that “no show that utilizes a laugh track or live studio audience should be eligible for a major award” served as the perfect counterbalance to the gut wrenching lyrics of this song so that I could discover it in a digestible way for my 12 year old self.

In all sincerity, I have admired for years how Clay is able to seamlessly transition from insightful objective commentary on the merits of the film, show, or album under lens that day to anecdotes that speak to why this art has been particularly powerful in his life. I inevitably leave every blog with a deepened appreciation for what’s being discussed. I would not have a top 10 list if not for the inspirational dedication that this man has had for spotlighting good art under his unique magnifying glass for so many years. If I achieve a modicum of that impact on any of my readers, I’ll have felt I’ve done a good job.

On to the list…

Best Albums of 2022 – #10
Surrender – Maggie Rogers

I cannot separate listening to Maggie Rogers from envisioning the video in which Pharrell essentially discovered her. In this video, Pharrell is providing a Masterclass in production to a group of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts students. His goal is to provide constructive criticism after listening to the song they’ve prepared to showcase. Williams is affirmative with every aspiring artist. However, you can immediately tell when Rogers presents her piece, breakout hit ‘Alaska,’ that Pharrell reacts differently. You can almost see him take off his instructor hat and sit forward so that he can enjoy all the elements of this product from this new creator he’s discovered. After the song finishes he simply says “I have zero notes for that. And I’ll tell you why. It is because you’re doing your own thing. It’s singular.”

I feel a listener might have similar sentiments after today’s song. Rogers has continued to be a unique voice in a field of singers that sometimes gravitates towards what’s trendy in the moment.

My prevailing feeling throughout this record was enchanted. Not only does Rogers hold her own vocally belting out power ballads just as comfortably as hard rock, but also lyrically and melodically. Today’s song encompasses her atypical melodic approaches combining country-pop vocal lines with bluegrass-jazz piano touches (compliments of recent Grammy award winner Jon Batiste) and striking specificity that pays off in this sweet, touching record.

[Verse 1]
Who would’ve said
When I met you at a party
Everyone was drunk on 40s just south of Stuyvesant?
That I would get to know your sisters
Bring ’em with us every time that we were in Austin

[Pre-Chorus]
If only she knew what it’s like to see the world with someone who
Is excited by everything, fashion sense of a king
Living in the fifteenth century

[Chorus]
Oh, I’ve got a friend who’s been there through it all
Masturbates to Rob Pattinson, staring at the wall
I’ve got a friend who’s tangled up inside
Tried to hold her hand the day her mother died
I’ve got a friend who’s been there through it all
Talked me out of jail, talked me off the panic rail
I got a friend, I got a friend
And she’s got a friend, too

[Verse 2]
Any other day
We’d be hanging out together, no matter the weather
She’d make us listen to Dolly or else
When I’m far away
Like I seem to be a lot
I miss the days we’d spend smoking pot

[Pre-Chorus]
If only she knew what it’s like to see the world through someone who
Isn’t afraid of anything, laughs about everything
I’d like to see the one who thinks they can change her mind

[Chorus]
I’ve got a friend who’s been there through it all
When I lose my shit, she’s the first person I call
I’ve got a friend who handed me a shot
And taught me to dance when the love inside was not
I’ve got a friend who’s smarter than anything
Wears all her mother’s rings, stands for the right things
I got a friend, I got a friend
I got a friend and she’s got a friend, too
I got a friend, ooh, I’ve got a friend
And she’s got a friend, too
I got a friend, she’ll be there in the end
When we’re old and we’re dead, ooh
And she’s got a friend, too

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,281: ‘I’ve Got a Friend’ – Maggie Rogers

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    As someone who stopped independently discovering new music somewhere in the early 90s, I have been so appreciative to Clay for keeping me up to date all these years through this blog, and I am so pleased that Clay’s blog has shaped and inspired Daniel’s musical journey and exploration.

    I look forward to learning about this year’s best albums from the perspective of the student who has become the master.

  2. Peg says:

    Welcome Daniel! I look forward to your presence on the Montauk blog. I have the pleasure of knowing and listening to your music so I know this will be a real treat for everyone ❤️

  3. Amy says:

    First, thank you, Clay and Daniel, for the links that sent me down memory lane on the blog. Clay’s labor of love for all these years has provided our family so many opportunities to reflect on and analyze the music and films we love (and some we don’t) and to grow in our understanding and appreciation of each other’s tastes and influences.

    As for today’s SOTD, I’m not sure what I know from Maggie Rogers that had me expecting something less singular than what I just heard, which I really loved on first listen. Lyrics, production, music, the marvelous addition of Batiste – wonderful, all!

    Not sure what she’s going for in that video, though. 🙂 I also admit to being confused by the opening verse and pre-chorus… “I met you at a party” followed by “if only she knew what it’s like” after referencing “sisters” plural. Is either the “you” or the “she” the friend? Is Maggie/the song’s protagonist the “friend?” Are there multiple friends being referenced? Going to give it another listen now to try to figure it all out.

    Looking forward to the next two weeks of new songs to discover and happy to see Clay get to enjoy his vacation while his readers get to know his nephew (aka my very own “cool guy”)

  4. Amy says:

    Came back to say that you all should definitely watch the Maggie Rogers/Pharrell video if you’ve never seen it before (as I hadn’t) and then read this article I just found. What a delightful “origin” story.
    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/mar/16/maggie-rogers-pharrell-williams-speechless-tumbled-15-minutes-alaska

  5. Andrea Katz says:

    What impeccable good taste… I LOVE this❤️💜💙💚💙❤️💝💚💕❤️💜💙💚💜❤️💙💚Well done you!

  6. Maddie says:

    Yay! Looking forward to reading all about your top ten albums, Daniel!

    Completely agree with this selection as a highlight this year. I didn’t click in with every song on this album, but I consistently appreciate the way Maggie Rogers keeps her work interesting and unique. Her voice is so strong and her emotional delivery is strong. “That’s Where I Am” and “Shatter” were some of my faves on this record.

  7. Clay says:

    Thanks again for hosting the blog while I’m away, and for sharing your top albums of the year!

    I first heard Maggie Rogers when my daughter Fiona played the excellent song ‘Dog Years’ for me. That led me to the great Pharrell video.

    I haven’t sought out her more recent work, but I hope to spend some time with this album when I get a chance.

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