Alternative-pop trio Muna sparkles and dispels the sophomore album jinx with “Saves the World.” With each member identifying as a part of the LGBTQ community, inclusivity and acceptance have always been an important theme in their music.
Muna manages to address sensitive subjects all while setting it to a rock-synth backdrop. The lack of pronouns used during this album creates a gender-fluid atmosphere that any listener feels comfortable stepping into. “You” is used more often than “him” or “her” making the album feel personal, like a letter written to the listener rather than a story about someone else. This album soundtracks the life of twenty-somethings reminiscing on the “good-ole-days” while also realizing that they are living through some of the best days of their lives.
The album begins with “Grow,” a light and ballad-like intro featuring spoken word vocals. The singer’s voice is haunting and angelic as they yearn to grow up and “take this song off repeat.” It is a perfect opening to the delicate and self-reflective qualities of the rest of the album. Muna’s first single “Number One Fan” offers an upbeat and electronic sound juxtaposed with more serious lyrics that detail anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.
The track “Stayaway” discusses the ending of a relationship and how the hardest part is not leaving that person, but rather not later going back to them. Its raw and honest lyrics cut deep. They recount all the little things that have to change in order to get over someone — “If I go out dancing then I put on music / If I put on music then I play your song / If I play your song then I think I’ll lose it.” Another standout track, “Who,” similarly looks back on a past toxic partner and questions how they have already found themselves in a seemingly perfect new relationship with someone else. Both of these songs dive deep into the aches and pains that come with reflecting back on a relationship ending and examine the unconscious need to compare oneself to an ex’s new partner.
“Taken,” an upbeat tune that sounds strikingly similar to Kelly Clarkson’s dated “Breakaway,” deals with infidelity and wanting to be with someone only because they are taken. It forces the vocalist to reevaluate why they wanted to be with that person in the first place. Lines like “I just thought that if I could take you from her / Maybe then it would prove that I’m worth something” are heartbreaking and drip with vulnerability. “Memento” similarly looks back on the scars figuratively and literally left from past relationships. The lyric “I’m glad it left a mark” lingers as it is repeated on top of a beat and synthesizer-heavy track.
The album closes with “It’s Gonna Be Okay, Baby” which details the trials, tribulations, and experimentation that comes with being in one’s twenties. It also tackles heavy topics like mental illness, drug addiction and self-reflection. This song has the special ability to make the listener laugh and cry all within the same verse. Muna finds a way to write lyrics like “You’ll have some all-time nights / Dancing outside with LCD on the speaker / And you’re drinking dark pink wine / Yeah, and you’re gonna lose those friends” that are both specific and relatable. Although these verses deal with melancholic themes it is interjected with the chorus, “It’s Gonna Be Okay, Baby” which is said over and over again and each time seeps in a little more. This song reads like a big sister calling home and giving advice. “It’s Gonna Be Okay, Baby” brilliantly ties the album together and is the perfect closer.