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Tune into Yourself Through Móa's "Universal": A Music Album Review

Updated on December 27, 2015
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I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I've been a Goth since age fourteen, and a Pagan since age fifteen.

Have you heard of Móa?

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Móa is an electronica/dance singer/songwriter from Iceland. Her album titled Universal was released in 1999. Although each song's title and subject is simple, the honesty of the lyrics allows the emotion to come through the stories she tells, whether she's celebratory of love found or in mourning of love lost. Perhaps, the meaning behind the title of the album is that these songs can be universally understood.

*On a side note, it may be worth mentioning the shocking similarities in appearance between her and actress Uma Thurman, but these women are not one in the same. [example]

1. "Joy & Pain" is about having the option to choose between being affected by positive or negative emotions. It gives a powerful perspective on which emotions we allow to control each day. The song was made into a music video, as well. In the video, Móa is part of a video game that takes place in a garden. She conquers the levels by turning thorns into flowers. Her demeanor is unaffected. No matter how much hurt she may go through, she knows she'll be okay. Admittedly, one could argue she is detached in order to survive all of the pain:

"It's your turn to choose
Don't try to explain
Joy and pain
Your turn to choose
Twisting between
Joy and pain
Joy and pain"

How do you handle the daily struggle between joy and pain?

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2. "Toy" is talking about self-respect. The speaker knows their ex lover used them, constantly, and will continue if they aren't careful. They're struggling with why it’s hard to resist someone they should know by now is bad. The song is about admitting one’s weakness and owning one’s worth:

"I'm a girl
I'm not your toy
And you're a boy"

Clouds | Source

3. "Memory Cloud" speaks to those stuck on a relationship that has ended. The narrator is alone, and hoping they'll pull themselves out of their depression, but for now they almost enjoy their despair. They are not ready to accept life after the relationship nor to move forward:

"Living on a memory cloud
You know what it means to me
Living on a memory cloud
You know what it means to me"

4. "Rockets" is about a relationship where both parties don’t know where they’re going, and it’s okay. The speaker is comfortable with the unknown. It’s a song celebrating the experience of not knowing for sure where a relationship is going which isn’t often seen as a good thing. So, this is a unique take:

"We're rockets on a journey
Journey for two
We're rockets on a journey
Me and you"

5. "Can't Forget You" captures a moment in time when the speaker was with the past significant other. This is more than a typical memory of what it was like to be with the person. The speaker's state of mind remains in the past. They feels as though to stop thinking of them would be to abandon them. They don't realize this is really about their own emotions:

"Can't forget you
Can't desert you
Can't stop
Thinking about you"

6. "Tenderly" is about being at peace with how a relationship ended because of how it began. Now, the speaker wishes they could be left with the same uniquely tender sensation from their former partner to make it easier for them to get on by themselves; therefore, there is some co-dependency left over: "You came to me so tenderly."

7. "Declaration" is about telling someone that you're in love with them. You’re going through the highs and lows. It’s intense. The speaker wants to know if their partner can feel their love for them. There's a feeling of celebration when you're in love, and Móa translates it through her song:

"It's a declaration of love, the word is out
It's a declaration of love, there is no doubt"

29 September 2014.
29 September 2014. | Source

8. "Raining in my Heart" focuses on the mixture of good and bad in love. The speaker is admitting it all. There were pleasant times and horrible times. They are going through a hard stage by themselves after the relationship has ended, and they blame their ex partner for their misery. It’s a familiar experience:

"It's raining in my heart cause of you
Since we've been apart
I'm in solitude
It's raining in my heart cause of you"

9. "Forever" is a relationship that has gone through so much that the speaker believes it’s going to last. It’s opening up about everything. No more secrets or insecurities. It is the part of the relationship when we are the most accepting of our partners. We want so much to be with them that no matter what good or bad they may tell us, we believe it will be okay in the end:

"All this time that I've been waiting
For this moment to come alive
And all my life I've known for sure
That you'd be coming back for more..."

10. "Overcome" is about accepting that things can’t go back to the way they were. There has been pain, but the struggle will pass. The speaker's voice has confidence, and they sound at peace with how things have turned out, and what is to become of their lives: "We shall overcome..."

11. "Virtual Affair" is about an online relationship on the surface, but one could argue that it's simply a metaphor. It's about a love affair with no boundaries for location. Distance is not a factor. Without concern for how far away someone is, the possibilities are endless. The only issue is that the song begins with asking if the listener is available; therefore, perhaps it isn't as perfect as the speaker believes it is:

"Virtual affair does exist anywhere
Virtual affair does exist"

12. "Raining in my Heart (remix)" The tempo is faster, changing the message. The original is more melancholy, but this version turns it on its head. One could say it mocks the negatively of the lyrics. Almost a message to the ex partner that they are no longer in pain, and have moved on. It’s appropriate for the last track, encouraging hope in the listener. The loneliness turns into strength since being by yourself can be empowering.

What's Next?

Unfortunately, it seems that after Móa joined the band called Lace, and recorded an album in 2001, she stopped making music. I guess this is one artist who left quite a mark on some of us for a brief moment. Her fans wish she had continued, but we have the music she did make, Forever.

© 2015 social thoughts


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