The Swedish supergroup’s latest single, MOR, is an exploration of beauty in a vain and deceptive world – an anthem for those who still want to enjoy life’s pleasures despite the chaos. “Superficial Intelligence”, with its mesmerizing and otherworldly soundscape, invites listeners to escape into the blur of the hectic nature of the world and enjoy the hustle and bustle.

“Superficial Intelligence” is the band’s first single from their upcoming debut album, DOLLS, to be published on February 24. Born from the collective minds of MAPEI, Fredrik Okazaki and Thomas Rusiak, MOR is a multi-talented supergroup of writers and producers looking to expand their connections to the afrobeats and alt-pop they introduced with previous projects.

MOR’s lyrics lean towards a very honest description of the world, encapsulating the same rawness in their lyrics that the soundscape offers:

I saw gods walking near me
Tiffany’s Jewelery Pavé
Smell of opium from their hair
I wanna throw a rollie in the air

Singer Mapei told the American songwriter that the band’s inspiration for the song came from a “genuine place of wanting everyone to feel beautiful in all constellations”. By creating a track detailing the troubles of the modern world, the vocal recording brought a new sense of beauty to the song – an exploration that is evident in the chorus:

I want what you wear
I want everything you want
What I want? Does our chemistry
I want beauty for all
Hey, aren’t we all…

“The way Okazaki mixed the vocals made me feel beautiful as a singer,” she says. “The voice sounds like a classic piece. It has a dark, lyrical tone. But with such conviction that evils do not exist. The inspiration is to be naked as the flame of a lighter in a dark and cold world. To ignite reflection, and a little fantasy, as well as history!

Ultimately, the message behind “Superficial Intelligence” is to appreciate the life we’ve all been given and end the shame of enjoying life, despite the chaos.

“There’s nothing wrong with having fun in the hustle and bustle,” Mapei says. “When you can observe that and realize what’s important to you in your life. And you take what’s good for you out of superficiality – that’s where intelligence comes in. If only for exploit, use and ruin others. It’s not smart for us. There are two sides to this song. It’s up to you which side you want to show in the shallows.

As a solo artist, Mapei has earned a Grammy nomination and multiple remixes from artists including Chance The Rapper, Benny Blanco, and has toured with esteemed artists including John Legend, RZA and Franz Ferdinand. His bandmate Rusiak, a pioneer of Swedish hip-hop, is a Swedish Grammy winner who has worked with superstars such as Robyn (Dancin’ On My Own). Okazaki is a multi-talented writer/producer who has worked with superstar Swedish artists, such as Robyn, and ventured to collaborate with American artists such as FKA Twigs.


Listen to “Shallow Intelligence” below.

Photo courtesy of MOR.

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