This intriguingly offbeat artist is best known for her Major Lazer collabs, but this bold album proves she's much more than someone to lean on
Equally inspired by the Spice Girls and Sonic Youth, MØ is an intriguingly offbeat artist with a very modern, streaming era problem: her biggest hits by far have been features on other people’s songs, namely the Major Lazer bangers ‘Lean On’ and ‘Cold Water’. So, while the Oceana crowd know her voice – sweet and scratchy like honeycomb – they probably don’t know how to pronounce her distinctive Danish name.
This second album begins a little bit tentatively, with the tribal pop songs ‘Way Down’ and ‘I Want You’. They’re decent tunes, but feel as though they’ve been grown in the shadow of ‘Lean On’. Thankfully, the album soon branches out into weirder and more unexpected directions. With its strummed acoustic guitars leading into a super-auto-tuned chorus and screechy synth hook, ‘Blur’ is both freaky and anthemic – a tricky combination to pull off. Diplo collaboration ‘Sun In My Eyes’ is a bright blast of new wave-y pop on which MØ comes off like a millennial Gwen Stefani. The skittering digital R&B of ‘If It’s Over’ is screaming out for a Charli XCX cameo, so it’s a good job MØ has managed to bag one.
The album’s second half also benefits from a welcome air of melancholy, which makes MØ more relatable than ever before. “Feeling like a loose leaf stuck on the tree / Blowin’ in the wind, come help me be free,” she yearns on reggae bop ‘Red Wine’. Trip-hop-flavoured closing track ‘Purple Like Summer Rain’ features a fantastic spoken-word bit on which MØ fantasises about a life where she doesn’t “have to worry about the responsibilities of adulthood”. There’s even a minute-long piano-ballad interlude featuring the instant classic lyric: “All I wanna do is just call up my mom and get my ass out of West Hollywood”.
In fact, the only real misstep is ‘Beautiful Wreck’, a bland tropical ballad that belongs on an ‘Ex On The Beach’ montage. On this evidence, though, MØ’s own music deserves to find a wider audience. By turns anthemic, experimental and boldly poptastic, ‘Forever Neverland’ hits multiple grooves, proving she’s a fascinating, multifaceted musician in her own right. As an artist, she’s much more than someone to lean on.
Release date: October 19
Record label: Columbia