MØ’s latest record is pretty interesting as far as pop music goes, but I wonder if it’s a step in the wrong direction for the Danish singer.
I’ll say this though: it’s not as good as No Mythologies to Follow. Indeed, I often find while listening to this new record that whilst MØ may have succeeded in creating an album that feels wholly original and separate from her debut, an unfortunate consequence of this is that it is difficult to find much real improvement anywhere. In fact, in some spots I might daresay she’s gone downhill.
The first half of the album is almost as good as the debut. Almost. The issue really boils down to the fifth track, ‘Nostalgia.’ The lyrics on the album rarely give off the passion of her earlier work, but the lyrics on ‘Nostalgia’ are pathetic. Moreover, the music itself leaves much to be desired. The verses are poor attempt at spoken-word, while the rest of the song revolves around a vocal melody and the drum and bass loop behind it. The issue: They do not mix at all.
Given the success of ‘Lean On’ and ‘Final Song,’ it was no surprise that this record was going to be more hit-oriented, and for the most part it seems to have worked. As ‘poppy’ as I might be making the record sound, it’s actually a very creative, unpredictable project, possibly even more so than her earlier work. For example, ‘Way Down’ has pan-flutes in it. ‘Blur’ has one of the most tonally-interesting intro melodies I’ve ever heard in pop.
In many ways, ‘Blur’ is actually the best song on the record; its exciting mix of styles (especially in the chorus) is evidence enough for myself that MØ is still one of the best names in pop.
But I never mentioned the second half. This is where the record becomes inconsistent, with tracks like ‘If It’s Over’ sounding like a worse ‘Blur,’ whilst ‘Trying to be Good’ offers an experimental moment which ultimately serves only to highlight the odd air of pretentiousness that runs through this half. Still, ‘Red Wine’ and to a lesser extent ‘Beautiful Wreck’ present MØ at her best.
And what is MØ at her best? One of the most diverse singers in pop, with the most unusual ear for melody in years. Her music is cool, colourful, and fluid. She creates whole, lush worlds of beauty in just over 3 minutes. And this album, admittedly, does justice to that description, even if it does become a bit too self-indulgent at times.