wxnderlost records · May 11, 2018
On his debut album, alternative singer-songwriter morgxn gets introspective while still managing to create fun, forward-thinking pop music. vital finds morgxn examining what and who makes him who he is. With a very androgynous voice, he has had to find his place in music as an artist who also happens to be queer. But while the lyrics on vital seem very much ‘vital’ for morgxn to say, the music itself is fresh and puts him amongst the new reigning artists in pop.
morgxn truly follows Bruce Springsteen’s map for music: “blues in the verse, gospel in the chorus.” Much of vital (and probably the best parts) has big build ups to pop-gold choruses. This is best seen on the enigmatic “translucent” and the highway-driving-ready “bruised.” The balance between these kinds of songs and more introspective moments creates an impressive debut from the promising new artist.
The only feature on the record comes from indie electronic band The Naked And Famous on the exuberant “Alone/Forever,” a standout track that finds morgxn searching for the one who completes him. His voice almost blends together with The Naked and Famous lead singer Alisa Xayalith on the pop-perfect chorus, and the buildup throughout the entire song is exhilarating and creates something you want to drive to. morgxn’s voice stands out in the most interesting way on “xx,” as the combination of his higher vocal register and the vocal distortion create something that almost doesn’t sound like him at all. It instead sounds like a song from the 60’s brought into modern pop, and with an androgynous voice like morgxn’s, that is something I genuinely haven’t heard before.
morgxn lets the lyrics shine on some of the most emotional moments of vital. On the Cure cover of “boys don’t cry,” he battles with societies’ expectations of masculinity and his own emotions. The cover is brutal, and you can hear that behind morgxn’s voice when he wails “boys don’t cry” over and over again on the chorus. On “me without you,” morgxn sings an ode to his father, whom he gives credit to for teaching him how to love: “I don’t know love without you / I don’t know me without you.”
The only moment where I can’t get on board with morgxn’s vision is on the almost alt-rock “home.” The song itself isn’t bad, but the vibe is completely different than the rest of the album. It feels out of place, especially in an album where the rest of the songs assist and complement each other.
Everything seems to converge on the title track, where this dreamy pop landscape morgxn has created becomes this big release. The lyrics themselves say what morgxn has been trying to say throughout the album, “You’re vital to my motion.” The simplicity of repeating that line is both refreshing and heartbreaking at the same time. morgxn’s attachment to these things in life he finds vital to his being brings one to question: who are we without the people close to us? The singer’s ability to both let his music breathe, have fun, and make people feel and think is what makes vital one of the best pop albums of the year so far.