Written by Isabelle Savoie
MØ – “XXX 88″ (feat. Diplo)
I found out about her completely by chance. Scrolling aimlessly through my Twitter feed (as I am wont to do), I saw that the Swedish summer music festival, Way Out West, had announced that she would be performing there this year. Karin Marie Ørsted (aka MØ) is a Danish electro-pop singer-songwriter, and although she is perhaps best known for her star turn feature on Avicii’s 2013 hit “Dear Boy,” her solo material is well worth an exploration as well.
My desire to discover some new music — amplified by my ever-present urge to procrastinate — led me to MØ’s four-track EP Bikini Daze, which dropped last October. In my newfound anticipation for the March 10th release of her debut full length album, No Mythologies to Follow, here is the lowdown on the EP.
With only four songs, it can be hard to gain a true sense for a musician, but MØ has done an incredible job at piecing together a tantalizing sampler of what we can expect on the forthcoming album. From the dancehall-influenced “XXX 88″ (which includes a guest feature from Diplo — can I get a Spring Fling shout out?) to the mellow, melancholy “Never Wanna Know,” this EP includes songs that vary enough in style to fit many tastes and moods.
In terms of production and arrangements, the tracks range from complex dance numbers (“XXX 88″) to simple chamber pop songs (“Freedom #1″) to something in between (“Dark Night”). Each track bears a unique arrangement that corroborates the general thematic mood of the song. “Freedom #1,” for example, a relatively soulful ballad, showcases MØ’s striking voice with sparse piano and delicate backing vocals. By contrast, “XXX 88″ features many layers, both vocal and instrumental, establishing a sonic density that makes it easily the most energetic song of the EP.
Despite this stylistic variance, Bikini Daze‘s intriguing melodies and harmonies, strong bass lines, and overarching electronic aesthetic tie the EP together into a coherent unit that is simultaneously engaging on a cerebral level and simply ‘listenable’ on a more basic level. In fact, I’m listening to it right now… As I have been for the past week.
If I had to describe her in comparison to other artists, I’d say that MØ sounds something like the beautiful love child of Lana Del Rey, Lorde and Grimes — an interesting cocktail of some of the most successful pop-leaning indie artists of the past few years. If you like any of the aforementioned artists, or if you just want a satisfying synth pop record to soothe your winter blues, you should definitely check out MØ.
Bikini Daze is out now on Chess Club/RCA.