MØ – Forever Neverland

Wherever Neverland is, may she stay there forever.
Label: Chess Club / RCA
Released: 19th October 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Taking her sweet time about it, MØ has at last returned with an album that lives up to her reputation as a pop star of rare genius. Now, at the point in life where most in her field are looking back at their best days receding behind them, she is only just hitting her stride. In Forever Neverland, she has built not just a series of mighty tunes but an entire world for them to exist in.

‘Way Down’ is pure addiction, a huge banger of a tune about seeking a temporary escape from reality – themes that run through much here, that Peter Pan reference absolutely deliberate. It signposts the start of a startling run of tracks that include one (of many) album highlight in ‘Blur’. Built on the bones of a Pixies riff but transformed with a beat that will lay waste to clubs around the world, it is stunning in its execution. The first half of the album is full of them, monster anthems that take something recognisable and subvert it into something entirely new. It is quite frankly a banger-fest of ridiculous proportions, Charli XCX, Empress Of and Diplo popping up to the party at points just because they can.

Painfully honest at times, Forever Neverland shows MØ with a complete lack of fear at leaving herself emotionally open. The sheer raw emotion that pours out of ‘Mercy’, facing up to her mistakes with no sign of self-pity, is a soulful phone-torches-in-the-air moment waiting to happen. ‘If It’s Over’ is similarly empowering, while the tropical ‘Beautiful Wreck’ positions her as an outlaw with “I’m your Bonnie, you’re my Clyde”. Skipping vacuous notions of perfection to present herself as the real deal is perhaps the most subversive, interesting aspect of this sublime pop album. Wherever Neverland is, may she stay there forever.

Jamie MacMillan

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