Mo Troper - MTV Music Album Reviews

Mo Troper - MTV Music Album Reviews
On his fifth album, the Portland power-pop musician embraces a spontaneous, home-recorded approach that exudes a playful charm.

Mo Troper doesn’t care much anymore. That’s not a slight toward the Portland power-pop songwriter, but his own confession about everything aside from songwriting. “That’s the most fun part for me,” he told Paste about his fifth album, titled MTV. “So when it comes to recording, I think the first pass is usually best. The more attempts I make, the more sterile things become.” He settled into this attitude in the wake of his labored-over third album, 2020’s Natural Beauty. For its follow-up, last year's Dilettante, he took a vastly different approach: a see-what-sticks 28-track album that came across as Troper’s crack at his own Alien Lanes.

On MTV, Troper embraces spontaneous magic in a more concise way. With the exception of one song from the archives—the full-band, studio-recorded 2016 track “Play Dumb”—Troper recorded and performed the whole thing alone on an 8-track tape recorder after a long, emotionally taxing tour. MTV barely breaches half the track total of its predecessor, but it still manages to incorporate its sprawling philosophy. And while Dilettante flirted with nu metal and screamo parody, the range of these songs feels more meaningful: Even the 31-second “Tub Time” commits to its shtick of “Scott Miller resurrects himself to collaborate with the Wiggles” bathtime jingle in a way Dilettante songs like, say, “Cum on My Khakis” never approached.

When Troper gives his songs the space to breathe, the results are even more remarkable. Whether in the endearingly saccharine lead single “I Fall Into Her Arms,” with its strolling melody and cracking vocals, or “Waste Away,” with its bouncing, clap-along rhythm and airy, euphoric harmonies, Troper breezes through an array of colorful, whimsical modes, even when hinting at a suffering below the surface. “I’ll stick a rope right down my throat/And kickstart my insides,” he sings in “I’m the King of Rock ’n Roll,” before erupting into a fuzzy, swaggering guitar solo in an effort to smother his pain with bravado.

This rousing, darkly humorous anthem is right in his comfort zone, but the intimate folk of “The Only Living Goy in New York,” is more surprising. Here he invokes the hushed shakiness of Elliott Smith while addressing themes of faith and alienation. Cathartic closer “Under My Skin” is similarly stripped-down, but its approach is more cartoonishly angsty, resolving to move beyond heartbreak out of spite, like Pinkerton-era Weezer as interpreted by the Chipmunks. These disparate concepts and influences are tethered together with an unbridled playfulness, despite lyrics about puking, crying, loneliness, and romantic frustration.

When MTV threatens to become topically morose, it’s accompanied by a varispeed pitch shift, embodying the dichotomy between tongue-in-cheek mockery and raw emotional nakedness. Still, calling MTV mature would be disingenuous: Goofy asides and self-pitying lyricism are baked deep into its crust. There are occasions where Troper becomes a bit snide, as in the joyful, vitriolic insults on “No More Happy Songs.” And some of the more experimental diversions—like the chaotic jazz-math-melded meltdown “Power Pop Chat” and the loose, shambling pseudo-medley “Final Lap”—occasionally take a step past liberation into directionless. But on the whole, Troper's childishness has never been more charming, his melodies have never been sticky-sweeter, and his love of music for music’s sake has never been more apparent or inviting.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Mo Troper - MTV Music Album Reviews Mo Troper - MTV Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 Rating: 5

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