Mo Troper wants his MTV—or at least that’s what the Portland, Oregon, singer/songwriter decided to title his forthcoming fifth solo album, due out Sept. 2 on Lame-o Records. The video for lead single “I Fall Into Her Arms” premieres right here at Paste today (July 25) ahead of the track’s official release on Tuesday.
Written during and after a lengthy tour, MTV (i.e., “Mo Troper Five”) packs 15 songs into just over a half an hour, setting chaotic freakouts against watery ballads—and sometimes combining them—when Troper’s not inhabiting his pithy power-pop sweet spot. The follow-up to 2021’s acclaimed Dilettante, MTV has a freewheeling immediacy that stands in sharp contrast to, say, Troper’s 2020 album Natural Beauty, which he describes as “super labored over” and “the total opposite of where I am now” in press materials.
“To me MTV feels like a very wild recording, and I did want to make something that’s sort of aggressive and maybe even difficult, but in some ways it’s also the most organic record I’ve made,” Troper explains. “I just felt the same kind of freedom as when I first started getting into making music, and it was impossible to make the distinction between something that was a joke or an ‘actual’ song. It’s all wrapped up in the same package.”
At the urging of his friend and guitar-pop peer Tony Molina, Troper committed MTV to literal tape, recording at home on an 8-track and using analog techniques like pitch-shifting, rather than digital tinkering. “I’m just really interested in writing songs—that’s the most fun part for me,” Troper says. “So when it comes to recording, I think the first pass is usually best. The more attempts I make, the more sterile things become. I’m just kind of pushing that mentality even further now.”
“I Fall Into Her Arms” is the arguable centerpiece and ideal first preview of MTV, a jangle-pop gem about the tangle of fear and joy that is loving someone. The 94-second track opens on Troper spiraling out (“Everything I thought was wrong / It hit me like a cannon ball”) over acoustic strums, electric riffage and the occasional harmonica wheeze, with only Sam Mendoza and Asher McKenzie’s low end to steady him until his crush returns. Vocal harmonies from guitarist Brenden Ramirez buoy Troper’s relief at finding respite in the song’s eponymous embrace.
Troper tells Paste the story behind the song:
One time I went to a party to meet up with someone I had a crush on. We had already sort of been seeing each other, but it was still this awkward, tentative phase and I knew we weren’t exclusive. When I got there it was absolutely packed, like this insane rager, that unmistakable, inescapable piss and puke specked miasma of vape smoke and BO. Too many people having too much fun. The person I was there to meet was kind of whisked away by someone who wanted to show her their poetry, so I walked to 7/11 and got a Slurpee, and then went to my friend’s house who lived nearby so I could wallow for an audience. About an hour later the person I was crushing on texted me and said she wanted to hang out soon, and I realized I was just jumping to crazy conclusions. Anyway, that’s what this song is about: The amphetamine-like, warp speed emotional ouroboros of being in love with someone, misinterpreting words or actions as proof of disinterest, falling into a pit of anxiety and despair, being rocketed back toward a state of euphoria like a patient pogoing out of their doctor’s office when they learn the “tumor” is actually just a tenacious hemorrhoid. You never learn, it never gets any better, it never gets any worse.
Meanwhile, the “I Fall Into Her Arms” video, created by Hannah Clark, feels like what you might see if you got hit with Scarecrow’s fear gas while watching colorized clips from The Ed Sullivan Show. Troper and company perform the track in the Portland Art Museum, each clad in the kind of mask you hate to encounter on any day but Halloween. It’s a clever representation of the song’s conceit, with ugly anxiety haunting an otherwise wonderful place.
Watch the “I Fall Into Her Arms” video below, and find the details of MTV and Troper’s upcoming tour dates further down. You can preorder the record right here.
01. Between You & Me
02. I’m the King of Rock ‘N Roll
03. Tub Rules
04. Waste Away
05. The Only Living Goy In New York
06. Power Pop Chat
07. Royal Jelly
08. I Fall Into Her Arms
09. Across The USA
10. Play Dumb
11. Coke Zero
12. Final Lap
13. No More Happy Songs
14. You Taught Me How to Write a Song
15. Under My Skin
Mo Troper Tour Dates:
03 – Asbury Park NJ @ Asbury Yacht Club with Golden Applease + Beauty
04 – Washington D.C @ Pie Shop with Golden Apples
05 – Pittsburgh PA @ Roboto Project with Golden Apples + Same
06 – Bowling Green, OH @ TBA with Golden Apples
07 – Akron OH @ TBA with Golden Apples
08 – Charlottesville, VA @ TBA with Golden Apples
09 – Richmond VA @ Garden Grove Brewing with Golden Apples Dazy Gnawing
10 – Philadelphia PA @ TBA
11 – NYC @ TBA with Golden Apples