We’ve been harping on about it for years but let’s just clarify this once again: Tove Styrke is the pop star the world needs.
Let’s look at the evidence so far. Kiddo was a triumph of patriarchy-smashing pop, her live shows are kinetic force of nature, and Sway brings with it some of the best pop singles of recent years. There are only three songs we haven’t yet heard on this economical eight-track album, but even they’re exactly what’s needed to lift the entire enterprise to a cohesive while.
The three in question are the title track, I Lied, and On A Level. The title track – which opens the record – sums up exactly what Tove Styrke is about: pin-sharp songwriting, immaculate and playful production, and an approach that’s full of charm and confidence. There’s generally a more minimal aesthetic this time round, but in parsing things down Styrke reminds us that she doesn’t need any bold accoutrements to make some fucking good songs. On A Level is another perfect, inventive example of that, while very much fitting in to the pop standards of ‘now’.
The other songs you may have heard already but that doesn’t stop them from still sounding ridiculously fresh. It’ll be hard for anyone to find us pop that, well, pops as much as Say My Name, Mistakes, and Changed My Mind do. They also inherit Tove Styrke’s distinct sense of lyricism in this particular milieu, words that are accessible yet flirty and pointed when they need to be.
So should anyone be bothered that Tove Styrke has gone from smashing the patriarchy to a frothy pop album? Well, no, because there’s a sense that she has said what she needed to (and in the best way she can) and is keener now to display other facets of what it means to be a millennial woman. Sway does that and then some, rounding off with the Lorde cover Liability that does that seemingly impossible task of surpassing the original. But then that’s the beauty of Tove Styrke: she’ll take something you’ll think is familiar, sway it in the gentlest way, and make sure that you’re only left thinking of her by the end of it.
Sway is out on May 4; check out our podcast with Tove Styrke below.