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Natural Beauty

by Mo Troper

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about

'Natural Beauty' (2020) • tndr.lv/naturalbeauty

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Mo Troper’s third solo record, Natural Beauty, was recorded in the uneasy yet fertile time after the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist returned to his hometown of Portland from two brief, failed experiments of living elsewhere: first in Los Angeles and then in New York.

Instead of the “snot-nosed pwnage” of his earlier music (so said Pitchfork in their 6.0 review of his debut solo album), this new record presents the salient details of Troper’s life without the juvenile editorializing that has, at times, kept listeners at arm’s length.

Album highlight “Jas From Australia” features a melody as buoyant and sweet as anything The Kinks ever wrote, with a dash of Internet-age urgency mixed in. The song’s straightforward storytelling—Jas was Troper’s first love, they met online when they were teenagers, and never met in person—sets the listener up for this gut-punch two-thirds of the way through the song: “I said I was moving to Melbourne but I lied and now you know.” It’s easy to take music this catchy for granted, and confuse beauty with superficiality, but these songs are remarkably durable.

Pitchfork says "Troper's gifts are undeniable."

NPR says "Troper writes grinningly great power-pop songs."

KEXP says "Troper weaves narratives and parables with a cast of delightfully obtuse characters that would give a Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel a run for its money."

Willamette Week says "[Troper makes] earnest adult music that retains the reckless energy of youth."

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released February 14, 2020

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Mo Troper Portland, Oregon

"the conker's bad fur day of power pop"

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Track Name: I Eat
i eat because i'm bored
hungry for something more
it's the spice of life that i'm after
or at least something
to die for
i smoke until i shake
a square bent out of shape
my inflated ego fell from the gallows
and now i'm a float
with no parade
out of hot air hanging for my life
watching as the world marches on by
the kid who did all his homework on friday night
at the mercy of his appetite
i eat
i eat
i eat because i'm bored
Track Name: Your Boy
There goes your boy
There goes your boy
There goes your boy
Gone out to play
He’ll be back like a boomerang

There goes your boy
There goes your boy
There goes your boy
He’s the best
You’ll settle for nothing less

With a twinkle in his eye
And a heart that’s full of holes
Wrapped around your finger like
Some kind of barber’s pole, and so…

There goes your boy
There goes your boy
There goes your boy
He’s a star
Whether he wants it or not

With a twinkle in his eye
And a heart that’s half a whole
And you’re always on his mind
Like a spinning top that’s lost control, and so…

There goes your boy
There goes your boy
There goes your boy
Track Name: In Love With Everyone
you took me to karaoke
it was my first time
you sang “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)”
I looked into your eyes
and realized I was falling quick
and so I made it die
it hurt but I’m on top of it
when I was younger it was fun
but now it’s a problem
nothing can be done
I’m in love with everyone
it was the morning after
and I crept out the back
picking out the shrapnel
from where my heart attacked
I’ll try anything once
and do it better than anyone
I’m a kid in a candy shop
I want the lollipops and bubblegum
when I was younger it was fun
but now it’s a problem
nothing can be done
I’m in love with everyone
I’m a cat with a taste for blood
and a ball of yarn unspun
it’s a pull I can’t outrun
I’m in love with everyone
Track Name: Your New Friend
You and your new friend
Do all the things that we did
You and your new friend
Go everywhere that we’ve been

Looking at the photos and I’m seething
Wasting time in bed staring at the ceiling

Even though you’re far away
I think about you every day
But you’ve found someone
To take my place

You and your new friend
Cleaning up the mess that we made
You and your new friend
Making me wish I had stayed

Looking at the photos feeling beaten
Wasting time in bed staring at the ceiling

The incredible two-headed beast
We had each other first, at least

I really hope you miss me
Track Name: Everything
The world outside is monochrome
So I’ll hide in your bedroom
I only want to be with you
Only you

Winter, fall, summer, spring
At the mall or in the rain

When I’m with you it’s all the same
You’re everything, you’re everything
Track Name: Jas From Australia
jas from australia
jas from australia
the best part of every day
was talking on the phone
jas from australia
jas from australia
bread and butter torn from each other
and stuck in different time zones
jas from australia
jas from australia
it was the first time i felt lucky
'cause someone loved me
at least that's what she said
jas from australia
jas from australia
i said i was moving to melbourne
but i lied and now you know
jas from australia
jas from australia
it was the first time i felt lovely
'cause someone loved me
at least that's what she said
jas from australia
jas from australia
jas from australia
Track Name: Almost Full Control
Why does she wait?
When he’s turning her away
She thought she was out of the woods
But he led her heart astray

“It’s a cancer,” she said, “and it’s killing both of us”
All these tears just turn those gears to rust

He can hardly bear
The thought of her elsewhere
Passion overfed is a monster
Pulling out its hair

“I can’t believe I spent my youth like this,” she thought
Weary from the wars she wished she’d never fought
Bleary-eyed and distraught

All love ends up with someone feeling so alone
She leaves behind breadcrumbs that are the size of loaves

She says it isn’t in the cards
Tweety birds and little stars
Surround his head like a crown of thorns
He made his bed to lie in it without her
Track Name: Potential
we had so much potential
when we were young and stupid
but nothing ever came of it
we left it there and now it's dead
just a crime scene silhouette
a skeleton in the closet
we left it there and now it's
when we were young
we convinced ourselves
we could fall in love
and so we fell
what for?
we're not young anymore
we had so much potential when
we were young and stupid
but nothing ever came of it
we left it there and now it's dead
we left it there and now it's dead
we left it there and now it's dead
we left it there and now it's . . .
Track Name: Come and Get Me
I’m done with my cigarette
But I could have one more
Come and get me
I’m outside your door

Now I’m so happy
I could sleep on the floor
Come and get me I’m outside your…
Come and get me I’m outside your door

Come and get me I’m outside your…
Come and get me I’m outside your…
Come and get me I’m outside your door
Track Name: Lucky Devils
I moved back home after being away
For a year or so
Maybe I should have stayed

It doesn’t feel like home
Nothing’s in the same place
They’re calling it growth
It’s more like decay

A donut shop on every corner
That the weeklies salivate over
It all looks like the Apple Store

The Charlie Chaplin of empty gestures
The personification of a bumper sticker
I fell asleep and woke up in hell
I want to rip the tails right off these lucky devils
You’ll never find another city with so much natural beauty
And so we kicked all the poor people out
Now there’s more for you and more for me

We do things different up here
We’re all good people, I swear
At least we pretend to care

You don’t have to remind us that we’re special
So many different kinds of white people
I fell asleep and woke up in hell
I want to rip the tails right off these lucky devils

Nothing’s gonna stop these lucky devils
Track Name: Business As Usual
It’s the art of bending over
You’ll cook anything they order
Warming the bench until it’s on fire
While you’re waiting to be hired

By the business of cool
By the business of cool

And now the spotlight feels infinite
But big news only lasts a minute
It’s the fate of every front page
To end up at the bottom of some bird cage

In the business of cool
In the business of cool

You think you’re an exception to the rule
But it’s business as usual

You think your reign won’t ever pass
But under a magnifying glass
You’re just the king of the anthill
And it’s business as usual
Track Name: Cameo
You used to run this town
But you ran it into the ground
Now you think they all want your head
But you’re not that important
At this rate you’ll grow out of it

You parlayed your little problems
Into a thrilling narrative
And an unpaid internship
And now you have no bridges left
You burned right through your safety net

You’re a cameo
In everybody’s life but your own
Now that you’re all alone
You realize you’re nothing without everyone

An island off the coast of anything
They say you’re like a ghost, and finally
‘Cause that’s what you’ve been dying to make them think
Your head’s in the clouds
But they’ve been over you for awhile now

You’ve got nothing to say
All those words just get in the way
While you were running lines backstage
We were circling the drain
‘Cause I’m the one who got away

And you’re a cameo
In everybody’s life but your own
Now that you’re all alone
You realize you’re nothing without everyone

You brought us to tears with your soliloquy
So do us a favor and put us out of our misery

You’re a cameo
In everybody’s life but your own
Now that you’re all alone
You realize you’re nothing without everyone

You’re a cameo
In everybody’s life but your own
While your eyes were closed
You’ll find they gave away the starring role

You’re a cameo
In everybody’s life but your own
You’re a cameo
In everybody’s life but your own

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