Tove Lo: Queen of the Clouds

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Posted November 22, 2014 by in Pop
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Rating

Overall
 
 
 
 
 

3.5/ 5

Details

Genre: ,
 
Producer: , , , , , , , ,
 
Label:
 
 
 
 
Genre: Pop, synthpop
 
Producer: The Struts, Klas Åhlund, Mattman and Robin, Lucas Nord, Ali Payami, Alx Reuterskiöld, Mike 'Scribz' Riley, Kyle Shearer, Captain Cuts
 
Label: Island
 
Format: Digital download, compact disc
 
Time: 43:29
 
Release Date: 24 September 2014
 
Spin This: "Talking Body," "Habits (Stay High)," "Moments"
 

Pros:

Sexy pop dominates the course, bookending with decent radio singles
 

Cons:

Middle half slumps with same pop tricks, becomes too predictable
 

Newcoming pop export hides behind the guise of thrashing Britney Spears-esque pop on debut disc

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Newcoming pop export hides behind the guise of thrashing Britney Spears-esque pop on debut disc

Sweedish pop singer Tove Lo is hoping to prove there’s more to her world than ABBA. As a fameless songwriter, she has worked on artists like Icona Pop and Cher Lloyd. Now she’s jumping into the fast lane of pop royalty with the spotlight resting heavily on her debut, her first album on a major label. Divided in sections (Sex, Love, Pain) Queen of the Clouds is a smart new artist showcase borrowing from Britney Spears cooing and synth-powered beat drops while detailing the scorn of a problematic love affair. At times, it sounds like an improvement over Spears’ last record, Britney Jean. Although things aren’t exactly authentic here, Tove Lo is hoping to keep the Britney synthpop in the public eye. “My Gun” is a good move, featuring enough complimentary gunshot warnings and gospel-spiced hand claps to stir up a spontaneous ruckus for the live experience. The chorus on the Shellback-produced “Talking Body” is a grower, thanks to succulent melodic riffs and smart doses of naughty language (“If you love me right/We fuck for life on and on and on”). But “Like ‘Em Young” exposes some of the album’s toughest challenges. As it plays out a smart strategy of Americana-indie pop salmagundi, the atmosphere sounds basic and way too juvenile. “Young like me/With a mind so we see,” Tove Lo childishly brags about her naïve prey.

The best of the album is packaged inside the opening chapters about sex. As the album journeys onward, the fun inside her story dwindles down, so does the hype in the music. The love section is more uptempo and ballad-driven. Some of the songs work (“Moments”); others not so much (“The Way That I Am”). “Not on Drugs” shoots off Pat Benatar magic using expansive chord slurs, but falls into a spell of yawns. The Britney copycat routine also becomes apparent and grows redundant.

Inside her tales about pain, the album finds a bit of merit relief. The lead single “Habits (Stay High),” found on the backside of the disc, possesses one of the album’s most magnetic and well-written melodies.  It’s still a bit uncomfortable to hear as she brags about late-night binges on Twinkies and pens disgusting tales of vomiting and sex-crazed cruising. As dark of a place this is, Tove Lo’s storytelling examines the depths of down-in-the-dumps heartbreak (‘You’re gone and I gotta stay high/All the time to keep you off my mind”). “This Time Around,” carefully capturing a fantasy ‘80’s euphoria due to Kyle Shearer’s production, is just as refreshing. In the album’s closing minutes, Lucas Nord equally divides “Run on Love” into Katy Perry-esque synthpop and thrashing club disco. As short as the dancey section is, it’s the perfect climax for a disc burdened with an unusually dry mid-section.

With a few dry spells, some lovelorn tepidness and a marginal lack of originality, Queen of the Clouds never becomes the disc it should. It’s pretty unfortunate since Tove Lo proves on several occasions to have the songwriter’s muse to become the next Sia. But don’t let those dry humps get in the way of the narrative: Tove Lo practically composed the entire disc and she didn’t create her sound surrounding a bulk of overworked American producers either. That in itself is a pretty major accomplishment.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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