Morgan Saint’s ‘ALIEN’ EP Is An Otherworldly, Synth-Pop Adventure
If you combined Morgan Saint’s 17 HERO and ALIEN EPs, you would have one of the best debut albums by a pop-adjacent artist in recent memory. In fact, they feel inherently connected. The loose narrative that began on her 2017 debut continues on the just-released ALIEN. Only the themes of love (both destructive and healing), loneliness and identity are more fully realized. The production is also bigger and bolder. While there is still a pleasing alternative edge to the project, pop hooks and heady choruses come to the fore.
The lead single is a perfect example. A searing dissection of a dysfunctional relationship with lush, multi-layered production, “On Fire” is also very much a pop song. The subject matter is universally relatable (who hasn’t rushed towards disaster like a moth to a flame?) and the chorus is majestic. Similarly instant is “Until The The Day I Die” — a loved-up banger that evokes MØ or perhaps Lykke Li in a more upbeat moment. It needs to be a single. Disco-tinged EP closer, “Take Me Back,” is another romantic earworm that demands a proper rollout.
While there are a couple of (comparatively) accessible songs, Morgan still embraces all things weird and wonderful. The demented “Sinner Boy” is a brilliant burst of off-kilter electro, while “Paper Scissors” invokes one of my favorite pop metaphors of the year. “Is your skin thick? I can’t cut you deep,” she ponders over minimal bleeps and beeps on a verse. “Is it my scissors? Are they too weak?” Has unrequited love ever been expressed more poetically? In fact, it’s the quieter moments that really linger on ALIEN.
“Falling” is a dreamy, multi-layered electro-ballad that makes you feel as if you’re plummeting through time and space. It’s oddly beautiful, a description that also applies to “My Sunshine (For You).” Only this time, there’s no dark underbelly or fear of the inevitable crash landing. The tone is lighter and warmer. Another highlight is the unusually specific and deeply personal “Momma, Set Me Free.” It’s hard enough to release two good songs in a row in 2008, let alone consecutive filler-free EPs. Stream ALIEN below and drift off into another dimension.