Saturday, January 29, 2022

Review: Motordrome • MØ

“It’s algorithm, baby,” MØ declares on the opening track of her third studio album. It’s not just a reference to the digital connections that kept society glued together during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s the operative philosophy beneath Motordrome, a record that encases MØ’s songwriting in a hard, shiny lacquer. A half-hour of straightforward dance and pop music, the 10-track collection is tailored close and tight. Unlike the previous two MØ records, it leaves no room for nuance or surprises, neither good nor bad.

With churning bass to liven simple melodies, “Live to Survive” or “New Moon” are microcosms of their parent record: While the songs could encourage a head-nod out of even the most passive listener, their moodiness seems detached from earnestness. While a downtempo like “Brad Pitt” is charming enough in its vocoded metaphor that redeems Mr. Pitt after his ‘97 takedown from Shania Twain, there just doesn’t seem to be similar horsepower under the hood of many other selections. At most, Motordrome meets dance pop music in its current space without pushing it forward – and that’s fine. Plain, simple, and just fine.

Motordrome is available now under Columbia Records.

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