“That’s Where I Am” is the musical equivalent of sunlight shining through the curtains of a dark room. Inspired by the joyful energy of the rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You, Maggie Rogers takes her own romantic memory and turns it into a power anthem. This track went in a different direction than I was expecting; It’s an emotional pop rock ballad that tells a bittersweet story with an optimistic twist.
Upon first listen, Maggie Rogers’s soulful singing led me to believe I would be reviewing my first country song. However, the sudden introduction of the electric guitar after the chorus gave the song its alternative twist. I also expected the positive vibe to take a turn at some point — Rogers begins the song by speaking about her love in the past tense, which led me to believe it didn’t work out and she would be telling us why. On the contrary, she simply gives us a glimpse into the situation and ends by saying that things are alright regardless.
Rogers revealed the inspiration for the song in a newsletter to her fans: “This was right around the time of the U.S. election and the world felt dark and unsure. I knew for my own sanity I needed to make something that sounded hopeful – some musical world I could escape to. I watched 10 Things I Hate About You on the plane over and thought it could be fun to make something that sounded like it could run in the end credits of a romcom. Those songs always seemed so sure of themselves. So joyful. Everything tied up with a bow. A happy ending, that’s what I was craving.”
I told you I loved you when we were just friends / You kept me waiting and I hated you then
Maggie Rogers reminisces about an old flame throughout the song. “It was a story I’d been carrying around for many years,” she says in the newsletter, “The story of a love that had been with me and unfolding for a long time. The production was finished in a matter of hours.” The situation is definitely reminiscent of something from a rom-com, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear it playing in a movie before the end of the year.
You never touched me, but I felt you everywhere
The lyrics of this song are graceful and poetic, which is why I likened it to a ballad. We are being told a story, but in a way that is so artful and uplifting. It reminds me of something you would hear from the bards of Celtic culture in an inn or a bar. It would be accompanied with a single live instrument and I’m sure it would sound just as good.
It all works out in the end / Wherever you go, that’s whеre I am
The artist has a very optimistic outlook for such an uncertain situation, and that’s the point of the whole song. Rogers had to create a positive space for herself in the midst of a chaotic world. She sings about a love that seems fleeting, but always comes back to the fact that everything will be fine in the end. She takes control and creates her own happy ending, simultaneously encouraging us to do the same.