Every once in a while a new band or artist comes along and totally changes my world, making me fall in love with music all over again. This year, Los Angeles dark-pop trio, MUNA, have completely won me over and their newly-released debut, About U, is without a doubt a top contender for those end-of-year album lists. It took me a couple of days to find the right words to describe this album other than, “holy shit!” Yeah. It’s one of those records.
Jam-packed with a 50 minute therapy session, About U is a sensational debut from this promising trio. It’s hard to ignore the HAIM and ACES similarities, which I’m sure they must get a lot but tracks like opener, “So Special” and current single, “I Know a Place,” take things up a notch as 80’s pop plays a vital role in the album listening experience.
“Loudspeaker” reeled me in first thing with lyrics like, “Every time I love myself, it hurts your feelings,” as I’m reminded of a past relationship that was shit from the beginning. Girl power is another integral element of this record that has listeners on their feet – a perfect balance of feminism mixed with the much-appreciated longing of those beloved power ballads of the 80’s and early 90’s.
If you’re in the market for some straight-up nostalgia, “Winterbreak” is your jam, making it one of the best pop songs of the past year with it’s perfect hooks and raw emotion that leads us right into the up-tempo “Around U.” Take this one with you as you pass by the places that have a some significant meaning to you as the line of, “Something massive happened here / Can you feel it in the atmosphere?” The glory comes in with the line of, “I no longer revolve around you.” Use it as a mantra to get you through those days when your independence is at an all time low.
Personal album highlight, “After,” is a synthy dream come true with a tragic story that could have come from the pages of my own diary. An anthem for those dwelling in the aftermath of heartbreak, there’s no describing the high that comes from knowing everything’s going to be alright despite knowing there’s going to be rough patches ahead. Tears For Fears, eat your heart out!
Things only get better with “Promise,” the self-sabotaging “If U Love Me Now” and fan favorite, “Crying On The Bathroom Floor,” which just might be a club favorite for the broken in the coming months. Lady Gaga would most-definitely approve as it would fit perfectly smack dab in the middle of The Fame Monster.
“Oh God, save me / I want an impossible thing / I want to be free of this ache, of this need,” sings lead singer Katie Gavin in “End Of Desire.” False hopes and ideologies of religion come into play as we wish to not want as much while that notion tends to fall short with album closers, “Everything” and the band’s silky-smooth “Outro,” the former a replica of my life for the past 7 years. “Everything’s about you to me,” and I wish it wasn’t so.
About U is about all of us as a whole. The emotions and turmoil we as humans go through and put ourselves through. It’s a flawless depiction of life in these young days as we float through adolescence into adulthood while we try to navigate the bumpy roads around the corner. Most of all, it’s a life changer you’ll be coming back to for years to come.
About U is available now here.