Album Review: MUNA fights for someone special on debut, About U

MUNA, Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, Naomi McPherson

An all-queer dark electronic pop girl band is a phrase that you don’t hear very often. L.A.’s MUNA has made the sub-genre official with their debut album, About U. Written and performed in the same vein as Haim and Lucius, the album is full of heartbreak, social justice and empowerment tempered with inspired ’80s synths. 

“So Special” expresses deep feelings of self-doubt stemmed from personal regret. Although insecurities are the main subject, the ’80s-inspired synths radiate optimism, a theme that remains constant throughout the album.

“Loudspeaker,” “I Know A Place” and “Winterbreak” are previously released tracks, but still play an important role in this melodrama. “Winterbreak” is an especially complex song that illustrates how history overpowers chemistry. In the end, this love affair proves to be addictive.

Then the relationship hits a few bumps, starting with “Around You.” This is when MUNA realizes their world doesn’t revolve around the subject of their storytelling. This sense of empowerment diminishes in “Promise,” where self-doubt resurfaces as MUNA admits they don’t know if they can forgive themselves, even if the other person does.

There is a connection that cannot be broken, and that’s made clear in “Everything.” This is where MUNA declares its obsession. The roller coaster ends on a high note with “Outro.” A sense of optimism spreads throughout the song, especially with the rare guitar solo.

The best part of this album is the universal relativity in every song. Whether it’s self-doubt or the excitement of sporadic love, anyone can relate. MUNA made a concept album that illustrates the complexity of an ambiguous relationship.  Almost any young adult can understand the highs and the lows. Hopefully, MUNA can take the blueprint used by Haim and Lucius and create a template for female empowerment in music going forward.

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