Often pigeon-holed as a “queer girl band” MUNA’s sophomore album Save The World demonstrates their artistic range: launching from the tender moments of opening track ‘Grow’ to self-love jam ‘Number One Fan’.
Whilst the crescendo-ing chorus of ‘Number One Fan’, which serves as the album’s lead single, is a closer approximation to the sound established on debut About U, songs like ‘Who’ offer a more stripped-back sound to match the vulnerability of the lyrics. The new emotional depth of the album is accompanied by a foray into fresh instrumentation, expanding the sonic palette from their mainstay of electro-infused guitar to integrate piano chords, thumping beats, vocal distortion and syncopated drums.
This new effort also feels more intimate than what’s come before — even the desolation of ‘Crying On The Bathroom Floor’ off About U pales in comparison — as the group delves into a more nuanced examination of feeling than we’ve previously seen from them. ‘Stayaway’, for example, pushes past the bravado of chart-topping break-up anthems — from Anne Marie’s ‘Ciao Adios’ to RAYE’s ‘Decline’ — to explore the troubled waters of new single-dom. As the song acknowledges, “leaving is the easy part” but the crashing post-love comedown, where friendship groups are divvied up between ex-partners and you’re forced to build a solo life for yourself, is significantly trickier.
Perhaps this is where the album’s depth and variety has sprung from, creating a significantly more robust body of work than the slightly single-note (but faultlessly catchy) music they had heretofore produced. Rather than reactively penning music in response to the losses and life events — leading with the emotion poured into their lyrics and letting the specifics of the sound follow — it seems like the group has turned inwards, reworking their musical DNA to facilitate a fuller form of expression.
Loud And Quiet needs your help
The COVID-19 crisis has cut off our advertising revenue stream, which is how we’ve always funded how we promoted new independent artists.
Now we must ask for your help.
If you enjoy our articles, photography and podcasts, please consider becoming a subscribing member. It works out to just £1 per week, to receive our next 6 issues, our 15-year anniversary zine, access to our digital editions, the L&Q brass pin, exclusive playlists, the L&Q bookmark and loads of other extras.