A pop icon coming into her own...
'Forever Neverland'

Danish popstar - or Karen Marie Ørsted - most known for her Major Lazer collaboration - 'Lean On' and Justin Bieber’s 'Cold Water' as well as solo singles such as, 'Kamikaze', 'Final Song', 'Don’t Leave' and 'Nights With You', has finally released her second album - one that has been a long time coming.

Following her perfectionist formula of tightly coiled instrumental with muffled, minimalist beats, and raspy vocals, ‘Forever Neverland’ manages to explore uncharted territories with its offbeat sound. With an overarching theme of nostalgia and not wanting to let go of the past, the album follows its short intro tentatively, exploring tribal pop songs with ‘Way Down’ and ‘I Want You', both of which while urging you to bop along and dance still seems like it will remain hiding in shadows of the ever popular ‘Lean On’; and as the theme of the album suggests that the singer may not move on from her past music.

But then comes ‘Blur’, a freaky, anthemic track with grungy edges, which proves that notion wrong. Continuing to boast MØ’s ability to write a solid banger, with strummed acoustic guitar dropping into a screeching hook, this track veers the album off into a weird yet welcoming direction.

Moving into ‘Nostalgia’, which as the name - and in keeping with the overall theme of the album - suggests transports you to a place of reminiscence and remembrance, before the bright blast of new age pop graces your ears in the form of Diplo collaboration ‘Sun In My Eyes’. Digital R&B track ‘If It’s Over’ screams out for a Charlie XCX feature, which lo-behold it happens to have in it.

The entire first half of her second album offers back to back bangers, until a childlike vulnerability shines through within piano-ballad ‘Hollywood’. This marks the beginning of the second half of her offering as an air of melancholy - with her innocent, relatable persona shining through - takes over with reggae bop track of yearning ‘Red Wine’, while trip-hop piece / ode to escaping the realities of adulthood ‘Purple Like Summer Rain’ finally closes out the 15-track album.

Intriguing and experimental, ‘Forever Neverland’ though featuring collaborations with artists like Diplo, Charlie XCX and Empress Of, manages to still highlight the individuality of the multifaceted artist as she finds her own identity. And while tracks like 'Beautiful Wreck' - springy, satisfying and by no means a misfit within this gripping offering - seems quite bland in comparison to the rest which boasts a bold sound, the album remains fascinating, never misses a beat and keeps you listening through to the end.

8/10

Words: Malvika Padin

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