Album Review: 'vital' by morgxn
By Mary Perez
morgxn, rising indie pop artist whose sound is reminiscent of artists such as Eden, Ieuan, and Milkk, is set to release his debut album, vital, on May 18. I was fortunate enough to preview the album before its release, and I can only say this album was better than I could have imagined. The 11-track album is the perfect album to transition from spring to summer and is one you should not miss once it comes out. In an interview with Billboard, he said that this album is “a pretty ambitious first record,” and I think it definitely was. Although he ventures into different sounds and ideas, I think the risks were definitely worth it. The honesty and relatability of his lyricism, combined with his sultry tone, come together to create an album that captures real emotions.
The first track of the album is “translucent,” the first single of vital and a previously released track. “translucent” is filled with beachy, indie vibes in a song talking about a relationship whose outcome doesn’t end well. In the lyrics, morgxn sings “No, I don't need one more reason not to chose ya/ 'Cause I came in looking for my hallelujah/No, I want these demons off my back,” reminding the audience of the feeling of wanting to rid yourself of the ghost of a failed relationship.
“me without you” is the next song in the album, a slower song that starts with a simple few piano chords. This song is sweet and speaks on the reality of how relationships can’t be 100% perfect. According to morgxn, the song is “about loving someone so much and not knowing what to do when they’re gone. It’s a song about searching for home when that person is ‘home’ and without them. you don’t know home anymore. And ultimately it is a song about recognizing and saying 'I love you' before it is too late to say it anymore. I wrote it for my father.” The chorus highlights his heartfelt lyrics and that yearning for truly appreciating the time you have with others, and its captivating melody will have listeners coming back to look for the deeper meaning.
“carry the weight” begins with broken speaking just before a striking piano pattern. The track has a dragged feeling of the piano chord that comes a second later than the first, appropriate to the title. The piano carries the song right before the classic morgxn chorus comes in, a drum beat that sets the mood for the triumphant lyrics. The choral voices in the background make the song an anthemic tune that matches the message of the overall song.
“alone/forever” features indie electronic band, Naked and Famous, which provides a distinct change in sounds with the contrast between morgxn’s voice and Alisa Xayalith’s. This track is extremely catchy, and the echoes of “I don’t want to be alone forever” sound like the feeling of being alone and craving a relationship with someone else. The harmony between Xayalith and morgxn in the chorus leave the listener thinking of that special someone. I love this track because of the variation in the sounds and how the music can go from slow to a dance track.
“xx” may start off a little slower than you might expect, but don’t be fooled: this song will make you want to dance around in your bedroom. The run at the end of the chorus perfectly frames the following verses, and the drum beat intertwines with the guitar to create an uptempo rhythm.The song is reminiscent of a classic BØRNS in the hypnotic rhythms and tone of his voice. One of the best songs off of the album and surely going to be a fan favorite.
The title track of the album has more of an R&B vibe to it than most of the other songs. “You’re vital to my emotion,” morgxn sings to the electronic sounds that echo behind his voice. This song is very calming and something I can see someone listening to in bed at night. The difference in the feeling of the song makes it an interesting choice for the title track because it offers a change in style that broadens the range of listeners it reaches.
“bruised” is also previously released. The synth sounds create an airy vibe around the song before it kicks into the chorus, featuring a striking drum beat to guide the melody. The sustained high notes from morgxn are a good wake-up call to the listener and calls attention to his range that may not have been showcased in earlier songs. The chorus highlights a relationship where one is open to loving the other, regardless of how they’ve been hurt before, saying “We’ve all been used, baby/ Don’t get confused, baby/ That’s just the truth, baby/ I want you bruised.”
“harpoon” is the 8th song off of the album and brings the same dance vibes found in other songs from vital, such as “xx.” The most prominent instruments are the bass and drums, and the overall vibe reminds me of older songs from the 80’s. It’s a funky little tune with the echoing of “how does it feel/is it real” that bring you back to the verses. “harpoon” feels fresh and like an ideal dance tune.
“roots” is the next song and provides a good break in the upbeat songs. A simpler beat plays in the background with the softer vocals of morgxn leading the song. This song is slower without being a ballad, and the vulnerability of the message is accurately portrayed in the yearning sounds of his voice, singing “Now I’m chasing my shadow incomplete/Letting my body rest in peace/ Taking it all so you can see my roots.”
“home” is a track that was previously released in 2016 and one of the first tracks I had heard from morgxn. I love this track because after not listening it for months, I was still able to remember perfectly the melody of the song as a result of it being so prominent. “home” starts out with a consistent guitar riff and drumbeat that continue for the entirety of the song. The chorus is a mixture of different tones, all singing “I’m going back home to the place where I belong/There’s nothing like it, no, nothing like it/Take me back home where the blood runs through my soul/I can’t describe it/There’s nothing like it.” The song focuses on finding where you belong, a concept familiar to everyone. A catchy tune that will stick with listeners for days after.
“boys don’t cry” is also on the slower side. The tone in his voice is reminiscent of Years and Years’s Olly Alexander with the passion noticeable in the dragging of certain notes. Once the second chorus kicks in, the listeners are treated with the loud and high cries of “boys don’t cry.” He certainly does not hold back on showing off his wide range, as the end of the song is filled with the higher sustained notes. This track ties the entire album together by letting the last notes trail off just in time for listeners to press that replay button.
Overall, vital is a very strong first album that leaves listeners looking forward to what else morgxn will have in upcoming years. The album really provides good proof of the potential for becoming a larger artist. Whatever morgxn has coming up in the future, vital is a good place for him to pave his way into the playlists of people worldwide.
Go listen to vital, out May 18.
6.09-6.10 - Cleveland, OH @ LaureLive
6.14-6.17 - Dover, DE @ Firefly Festival
8.02-9.04 - Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza