Album Reviews

MØ – Motordrome

(RCA) UK release date: 28 January 2022

MØ - Motordrome One of the cool things about Danish singer/songwriter is that she gives a feeling of the avant-garde to every song she appears on. Her delivery has a paradoxically disaffected energy to it, and her third album Motordrome showcases this on radio-friendly tunes with quirky production.

With Kindness the album gets off to the strongest start possible, as a violin ostinato accompanies an earworm hook and booming bass. Keen followers of hyperpop will notice Noonie Bao and Lotus IV on a couple of tracks, and sure enough New Moon is ridiculously catchy, detailing an encounter with a toxic ex over an ’80s-inspired mid-tempo groove (“used to drain me / and push me and pull me / but I’m not that somebody / that you used to bully”).

Youth Is Lost brings some millennial angst to the proceedings as well as introspection, with lyrics that become poignant in their mundanity, while Brad Pitt uses a delicious electric guitar performance to complement the song’s lovestruck aura. The biggest problem with Motordrome, however, is it contains too much filler for an album this short. Wheelspin sees MØ playacting at being a free spirit, but the song’s heart isn’t in it, while Goosebumps’ glitchy ballad is a novel concept undermined by lacklustre writing.

Punches redeems the record’s final stretch by amping up the drama: defiance and a turbulent world in its subject matter, brooding guitars and violins, percussion that builds from solitary claps to a bustling drumkit. The song signals an encouraging way forward, a style which could contrast nicely with her electronic influences (and set her apart from fellow pop experimentalist Charli XCX).

As time gently slips away, it will soon be seven years since Lean On, the Major Lazer/DJ Snake feature to date streamed three billion times that propelled MØ into the stratosphere. At its best, Motordrome serves as a reminder of why she deserved that success, and why she still deserves attention today.

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