It’s taken many years and a multitude of personal transformations, but it feels like things have finally clicked into place for Karen Marie Ørsted, most famously known as MØ.
Originally taking form as a solo side project from her feminist electro-punk band Mor, it quickly developed from aggressive rap over trashy bedroom beats into a fully fledged project – collaborating with producer and touring guitarist Ronnie Vindahl (part of the multinational producer collective NO WAV.).
‘No Mythologies To Follow’ is an amalgamation of her various singles released since 2012, as well as selections from her ‘Bikini Daze’ EP and a host of new tracks. The Deluxe Edition delivers 4 bonus tracks and 4 ‘Night Versions’ of other tracks on the album on top of that, bringing the list up to an ambitious 20 songs. The majority of the album focuses around hyperactive 808s slathered in ethereal soundscapes, with heavy helpings of moody bass, percussive synths and delicately sprinkled with Ørsted’s unique vocals; a delectable spread of electro-pop deliciousness.
Vindahl’s production is complementary to Ørsted’s vocals, providing the foundations on which she can bring her emphatically catchy hooks and earnest lyrics to life. His exotic, almost Balkan guitar licks add a uniquely Eastern European flair to the crepuscular accompaniment aside Ørsted’s pleasing melodies. Her vocal style bounds back and forth between sultry, melancholy tones a la Lana Del Rey (‘Fire Rides’, ‘Maiden’) and the raw youthful energy of 90’s era Gwen Stefani (‘Walk This Way’, ‘Glass’). She combines these elements together seamlessly to form her own character; one which exudes raw femininity in all of it’s forms. Her every-line-has-a-harmony attitude and affinity for gang shouts, swooping backing vocals and choppy samples mean that her vocals are much more intricate and significant than many of her contemporaries, thus becoming a facet in their own right. The Night Versions of album tracks exhibit this acutely, with the inclusion of minimal instrumentation (if at all) alongside heavily layered vocal harmonies which create haunting, serene moments of audible bliss.
Tracks like ‘Never Wanna Know’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Dance’ display her ability to perform at both ends of the pop music spectrum; with the former being a heartbroken love ballad concerning a past love that has moved on, and the latter a shameless party anthem about hitting London Town for the night and falling in love with someone’s mesmerising dance moves. Lyrically, she is just as diverse in tone, covering subject matter from tumultuous relationships (“where is the love we had? / Oh what a waste of time / why does it hurt so bad?” – Waste Of Time) to pining for her misspent youth (“why does everyone have to grow old? / everyone wonder where the good times go” – Glass).
She manages to perfectly encapsulate the trials and tribulations of those in their mid-twenties; where you’ve got the whole world at your feet and no idea what direction to take. Society expects you to take responsibility for yourself but you still don’t feel grown-up enough, you’re searching for “The One” everywhere you look simply through trial and error, and most of all you wanna hold onto your youth as long as you can. Far from abashed, ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ is all about making mistakes, learning from them, moving on and most of all getting the most out of life; a mantra she has taken from her own experiences and poured into a tremendous debut album. 9/10
Words by Lewis Harrison.