Mercurial World Deluxe by Magdalena Bay album review by Sam Franzini for Northern Transmissions


Mercurial World Deluxe

Magdalena Bay

Effervescent pop duo Magdalena Bay, known for their online-forward music, have put forth a deluxe version of their acclaimed debut album Mercurial World. The eclectic tracklist, containing 15 fan-submitted ‘secrets’, remixes of songs like “Chaeri” and “Something for 2”, a spanish version of “Domino”, and stripped-down piano and string versions of two additional tracks. And — if you can see through all the other freebies this album offers — two great new tracks that cut through the madness.

Mercurial World Deluxe reads less as an album and more of an art project. Clearly, messing up the tracklist with secrets (usually 5 to 15 seconds, but one ‘medley’ lasts two minutes) so spectacularly has to be an intentional choice, evidenced by their clever placements on their debut — album closer “The Beginning” loops perfectly with the first track, “The End”, where they say “I was thinking about how there’s no true end to anything.” This album, 28 tracks long, is more like a pick-and-choose of songs; feel free to take only what you like. And of the new material, the only real standouts are the new songs.

“Unconditional” is a swanky tune, the background track so luxe it’s reminiscent of some ‘vibier’ K-Pop stars like YUKIKA. “I’ll give you everything you ever want… / I’ll tear out another piece of my heart,” vocalist Mica Tenenbaum sings, describing her devotion. “All You Do” is successful as well, pairing a singer-songwriter vibe with smart lyricism and swelling vocals. “I only drink when I’m drunk,” she laments. Much like “Unconditional”, the song is drenched in love, albeit a sweeter kind: “All you do / Is good / I live for the moment,” she sings on the chorus, and pinpoints little details like sending each other their favorite songs.

There are, of course, the excellent slate of songs leftover from the past album: “Chaeri”’s sinister and propulsive bassline makes way for an explosion on the bridge; “Secrets (Your Fire)” displays pop sensibility along with campy, video-game sound effects; They play off anxieties, fears and more with a wink in their eye on “Hysterical Us”, and closer “The Beginning” is a catchy, vibrant call to the dancefloor even when you’re not feeling your best.

The remixes by Cecile Believe and Danny L Hearle don’t make the songs dramatically different — instead, lessening their excitement — making their inclusion odd. And while the piano and string idea is smart, part of the charm and love of “Prophecy” is lost when it’s not nestled carefully in electro-pop production.

A better strategy seemed to release all the fun, playful extremities as a separate grab-bag EP or music experience; in this way, it’s assumed that right next to a boisterous, creative pop song, you’d want to hear a random person’s secret or a remix of a song you heard earlier. When the remixes aren’t drastically different, either, it’s hard to tell their specific point.

As a sixteen-track deluxe album with just the core songs, it’s a brilliant display of talent. As a 28-track experience, their meaning gets muddled.

Purchase Mercurial World Deluxe by Magdalena Bay HERE


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