"Mastermind" is tense and percussive, Murphy declaring that she is "functioning then as I'm functioning now: way below my potential." Anxious synths and gentle vocals swirl around the lockstep rhythms, her resignation beginning to sound joyous as she contends that she'll "inevitably float down river."
Subtle dance rhythms and Murphy's jazz-influenced vocals characterize "Thoughts Wasted," as pensive strings and piano give listeners a sense of anticipation leading into its climax. Her songs on this record often feel like symphonies, with multiple movements evolving throughout a five-to-seven-minute period.
"Lip Service" feels like genuine easy listening music, cool harmonies flowing over poppy rhythms, guitars and keys. Murphy's theatricality, often seen in her live performances, is heard clearly on "Ten Miles High." Industrial drumming, exquisite synths, and her warm vocals come together to make pop that's assured and assertive: "Goodbye, oh little cruel world / Never again will I ever be grounded on Earth, or be bound by the hurt in you," she sings on the song, seemingly in response to today's ever-worsening political climate.
Although somewhat less accessible than Hairless Toys, Take Her Up to Monto sees Murphy coming in to her own as a solo artist. By juxtaposing bombast with nuance and intimate lyrics with worldly themes on Take Her Up To Monto, she continues her impressive, no holds barred approach to pop. (Play It Again Sam)