MUNA - About U
The LA trio MUNA are about making pop music and making a statement with that music. The three queer women use their anthemic pop to push social issues as well as those struggles facing their community. Activism and music become inseparable yet the hooks still soar on About U, something many people try and most fail at, but MUNA are able to do it almost effortlessly. You would expect the political talk to get heavy handed, but it never does, it is an element of the story they are telling but not one they are trying to force down your throat. It feels like MUNA are arriving at their conclusions through missteps and a lot of personal reflection rather than repeating the talking points of everyday news. It makes their politics stick, but it also makes the love songs feel more real. Love and loss are damn near the basis of every album out there but very few dial it in as tightly as MUNA have done here. Their brand of electropop is influenced by the 80s yet it still has a life all it's own. The elements of a song like "Winterbreak" should not work, the drum machine is thin, Katie Gavin's vocals are highly effected and it's to long but somehow they make it all work in this beautiful swirling song about trying it one more time. That seems to be a theme on this album, MUNA dig themselves a hole you think they can't get out of only to be shocked and delighted when the song dives deep into your soul.
The desperate desire that is "After" htis home so hard, with that feeling really pinning for someone and never getting that love back. For pop songs many of these are quite long, but you never notice because they are always bringing in a new element or a new sentiment to keep you right on the edge of your seat. "If U Love Me Now" is the bands one true ballad which is sweet and vulnerable at the same time. The transition from "If U Love Me Now" into the dark dance track that is "Crying on the Bathroom Floor" is a sharp one, but it snaps you out of the trance that the previous track places you in. More than anything this record feels like the right direction for pop music, plenty of heart but still cognizant of the world around it. As a debut About U sparkles and is an affirmation of what MUNA are doing. The album fades away on a haunting guitar solo leaving you with yet another special something to take with you as you leave. MUNA have announced their arrival, but not by opening a door, but by kicking the mother fucker down, don't let this album slip away.
8.9 out of 10