Here’s your handy Tove Lo checklist to see you through Blue Lips. Let’s get high, let’s fuck, I’m on a comedown, this is all great but a bit of a mess, let’s get high again. Straight-up: our favourite pop provocateur doesn’t deviate from her own formula much on her brilliantly-titled new album, but it’s so hard to even want to stage an intervention when it sounds this good.
Chapter I takes the first two on those list and does brilliantly; even when she ticks her own box (achem) the result still sounds fresher than half the shit out there. So Disco Tits emerges as a sweaty hedonistic mess, with Tove Lo’s lifestyle almost tangible between the grotty beats. shedontknowbutsheknows is a hook-filled banger, the title almost applicable to the Swede herself: she acts aloof and distant, but she knows full well how to craft a hit around her image (“acting all cliche and facing my fears,” she later sings very knowingly on Shivering Gold).
Thematically, Tove Lo may be running towards the end of her schtick but she doesn’t sound remotely tired by it. That enthusiasm translates through the record, as pop gems relentlessly bound through the gates – Stranger gallops, Bitches bounds (“let me be your guide when you eat my pussy out” if you want, or “dripping in harmony like Fifth”), and it rounds off the album’s first half with blazing fire.
Chapter II is a slightly different tack, taking in more meditative R&B-leaning sounds. This is Tove Lo branching out from the norm and to be honest it’s much less effective on songs like Cycles and Struggle. But it certainly tells us she has more to tell us than we think, and she’s way more rounded a popstar than the instant-hit bangers would lead us to believe. As always, Tove Lo is a lesson in how to do pop on your own terms, and the landscape is certainly all the better for it.