Following the release of her 2014 debut No Mythologies to Follow, Danish pop singer/songwriter MØ hit it big with a pair of singles courtesy of electronic dance group Major Lazer, topping charts around the world with multi-platinum anthems "Lean On" (2015) and "Cold Water" (2016). As her international star continued to rise, she recentered with the When I Was Young EP in 2017 before finally issuing her official sophomore effort, Forever Neverland, which arrived in late 2018. A serviceable dose of sleek and stylish dance-oriented Scandinavian pop -- whose upbeat sonics belie the introspective lyrics -- Forever Neverland is mostly homogenous, bleeding together in a gauzy, synth-washed haze, with sonic cohesion provided by producer ST!NT (Carly Rae Jepsen, Demi Lovato, Zara Larsson). Peppered throughout are a handful of standouts that rival those Major Lazer hits, including the delicious groove of "Red Wine" with Empress Of and a reunion with Major Lazer's head honcho Diplo on the urgent hand-clap groover "Sun in Our Eyes." Other highlights include the sleek "Way Down," which rides a dancehall vibe and hypnotic Asian flute melody; the pleading "Blur"; and the pulsing Sia-meets-Tove Lo "Imaginary Friend." Additional guests Charli XCX and What So Not provide further reasons to engage, but otherwise, the rest of the tracks fizzle out, especially at the close. Forever Neverland contains enough catchy moments to warrant a listen, but mostly remains fodder for de rigueur 2010s alt-pop playlists.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo