Album Review: Tove Lo – Blue Lips (2017)

  • Originally posted on March 15, 2019

Over the last few weeks, I have listened to Tove Lo increasingly, originally her being in a few of my playlists, yet now her music is entering my veins every hour I can spare. As I write, I have been listening to her for four hours. This week, I have decided to review the album which bought me back to her.

I was a fan originally back in 2014, when her debut album ‘Queen Of The Clouds’ came out. Although her biggest hit ultimately has been a remix of the track ‘Habits (Stay High)’ by Hippie Sabotage, ‘Talking Body’ also entered many charts around Europe and still receives radio play.

I always listened to her singles. ‘Cool Girl’, the lead from her 2016 release ‘Lady Wood’ showed a clear progression in her music, exploring the darkness and sensuality of relationships and human interaction. This is obvious at least from the cover art, which features Tove wearing mini denim shorts with her hand disappearing down the front. This proved to be light in comparison to ‘Blue Lips’, which she released in November 2017, also stylised as the second phase of ‘Lady Wood’ as a two-piece concept album.

‘Disco Tits’ was the lead single this time around: the video remains one of the more memorable that music has produced in recent years. It is six minutes of drug-fuelled magic featuring a lot of softcore action and a muppet. The other single, ‘Bitches’, later received a revamp containing Charli XCX, Elliphant and Alma. Again, the video is just as iconic — with an extremely alternative sex education class for a couple who are drifting their different ways.

My favourites from the Swedish artist’s third album are ‘shedontknowbutsheknows’, ‘Shivering Gold’ and ‘Stranger’. The last two are funky and sensual in a way which means you cannot resist moving along with the melody: ‘shedontknowbutsheknows’ is an interesting take on a cheating partner; i.e. Tove is the mistress, while the woman being cheated is not aware of their relationship, but can clearly tell that her partner is up to no good. Tove has no sympathy for her lover when she finds out about their infidelity:

Blaming me for all the sadness
Didn’t know ’bout you two
Don’t see why I’m dragged into it
This whole thing is on you

This is refreshing, in that society has a habit of blaming both partners in an illicit relationship, when in reality one may not have known that she was the third part of a triangle.

In ‘bad days’ and ‘9th of October’, she also displays a far more personal side. She expresses regret and sadness in the former, with an appreciation that her ex (or even a friend) had helped her through her darkest moments, but had moved on from her, while in the latter she talks about two people who are deeply in love but tears each other apart and think about the past. Indeed, Tove herself has called ‘9th Of October’ her “most vulnerable”, as she also admits to her own mistakes within it.

Together, this album goes through all of the emotions which pure passion can lead to: happiness, betrayal, sensuality, loneliness.

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