Listen to those lyrics.
Multi-Love has got me on my knee
We were one, then become three
Mama what have you done to me
I’m half crazy
Those are powerful, highly personal words, revealing the innermost thoughts of its creator as music frequently does. The creator in this case is Ruban Neilson, the New Zealand-born, Portland-based lead singer of Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO). Their 2015 album “Multi Love” highlights the polyamorous relationship Neilson had with his wife and their lover.
Pitchfork has a wonderful article on this album, and its influence, that is necessary reading. All relationships are complex, it is the coming together of individuals, each who have their own idiosyncracies, histories, likes, dislikes, opinions. Some may just be more complicated than others.
Sometimes a song comes into you life at a time you didn’t know you needed it to. This is one of those songs. My thoughts on modern love have changed within the last few years. Just generally being educated about how people conduct themselves in relationships, how monogamy is changing, and the words they use to describe their relationships, has been eye-opening. I am much more accepting of the human behaviors I wasn’t aware of before. This song perfectly encapsulates some of the things I’ve learned.
It’s a beautiful song, with the opening bars of the synthesizer reminiscent of a video game, soaring vocals, psychedelia and funk undertones, and a slight reverb, all that coalesce into a sound that wouldn’t sound out-of-place traveling in a space.
I don’t profess to be a music journalist and sometimes expressing my opinion explicitly causes some distress. This post is one of those examples, but once you listen to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s discography, chances are you’ll love their music as I do.