Molly Nilsson

Imaginations

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With her 2015 album Zenith, Molly Nilsson began the process of opening up her homemade synth pop style to make it sound bigger and more expansive, like she was singing for the world, not just herself and a small batch of devotees. Unlike many who take a similar step, she managed to keep the things (smart melodies, her world view, and voice) that made her good intact instead of losing them in the rush to expand. Imaginations is the second step in the process and it's just as steady as the first one. The music is basically Zenith in slightly nicer clothing, with brighter synths, more deluxe-sounding drum machines, and an overall vibe that's just a bit more wide screen. The lyrics have a more worldly feel and seem to take into account the things she saw and experienced on a very long tour that took her all over the globe. She sings of love and adventure in ever more confident tones, her deep voice becoming more expressive with each record. The melodies, too, are very evocative and rich, with lush instrumentation that nods to the traditions of synth pop without being bound by a need to stick to them. Some may miss the lo-fi, kind of cheesy sound of her first recordings, but fans of lush and emotionally rich synth pop will find Imaginations very pleasing. Nilsson has found the sweet spot between intensely personal music and universally understood pop; hopefully, she will stay there and keep making albums this good for a while.

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