Tove Lo
Blue Lips


3.5
great

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (132 Reviews)
November 18th, 2017 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Still sexy, still outgoing, now evolving.

As much as I enjoyed Lady Wood, the most difficult thing about its presence was separating the sex appeal from the art. Tove Lo managed to take the raunchier aspects of her debut record Queen of the Clouds and propel them straight to the forefront for a truly racy experience. But in turn, doing so diminished the three-dimensional “flawed relationship” vibe her original material evoked. And this isn’t just a musical problem either; after all, she flashes her tits onstage with almost every show she performs, as well as cultivating a reckless party attitude in her very image. I don’t mind any of this, mind you, but all I ask is that there be substance behind all the controversy and flash. To top things off, the album cover for this new record doesn’t exactly help. Seeing a bare ass being squeezed on the cover art got me concerned that the direction would be an even raunchier continuation of Lady Wood, with little regard to Tove Lo’s promising songwriting capabilities.

Thankfully, I was quite wrong this time around. Yes, Blue Lips is still steamy and arousing, but the tasteful electropop framework is both appealing and even subtle. Tove Lo has a much stronger ear for dynamics this time around, varying up each successive piece with fresh synthesizers and beats that create a real sense of atmosphere. There are even a few interesting experiments on offer, such as the jazz-influenced piano work in “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” or the dense chasm of deep keyboard effects that shapes the interlude “Pitch Black.” Moreover, the production behind each track is wonderfully crisp and pristine, along with giving some real weight and gravity to the bass and the wide variety of beats. There’s equal distribution of volume given to both Tove Lo’s voice and the instrumentation itself, which is a smart move considering the improved variety and overall quality of the songwriting. Even the lead single was a bit of an unusual choice, as “Disco Tits” (yes, that’s actually the name) is a minimalist number with weird little staccato stabs at the keyboard from time to time. The lyrics are incredibly sexual, but the alternation between spoken word and melodic singing was a nice touch, as if to alter the mood and perspectives of the track.

And this leads me to the biggest improvement over Lady Wood: the overarching concept. We have some story to chew on here, mostly centered around - as Tove Lo herself stated - “the highs, lows, and ultimate demise of a relationship.” In fact, this album is apparently Phase II of what I suppose is the “Lady Wood record string”. But the difference here is that there’s some actual drama and emotional maturity that melds with the sexy vibe Tove Lo usually brings to her music. In this way, we’re closer to Queen of the Clouds again. My personal favorite example of said maturity is on the highlight “Romantics,” a slow-moving pop ballad that speaks about living it up with your lover despite every obstacle trying to obstruct this picture-perfect view of romance. This theme continues and bleeds into “Cycles,” which rides a minimalist pseudo-Latin electronica beat as Tove Lo sings about living in a repetitive relationship that she can’t seem to shake off. Eventually, things come crashing down in the following track “Struggle,” as the melancholic ballad about lost communication and feelings of indecision with the narrator’s supposed lover. In fact, the second side of Blue Lips does indeed seem like the stronger side of the two. Speaking of which, I should mention that “Pitch Black” actually serves as a separator between the two acts of the album. The second side’s melancholic nature, likely signifying the “ultimate demise of the relationship,” is what brings the most interesting statements on the record. But I believe this was a bit intentional as well; having energetic dance tracks like “shedontknowbutsheknows” and “Shivering Gold” is a great attention grabber before surprising listeners with the deeper cuts.

I’m not going to act like Blue Lips is a perfect album or anything. There are still quite a few questionable lyrical choices here, such as the ridiculously gratuitous use of profanity in “Struggle” (see the repeated chorus of: “fuck fuck fuck some sense into me; gold for loneliness, I will pay”). The music also gets homogeneous around the middle, despite efforts to inject some variety in the songwriting and arrangements. Something tells me that Tove Lo should start experimenting outside of electronic pop music at some point, because it seems as though she’s starting to dry out that well. But when stacked up against Lady Wood, this record is a really nice step in the right direction. It’s packed with color and personality, and the simple-yet-effective approach to songcraft here compliments Tove Lo’s vocals and romantic tales quite well. Let’s just hope she takes even more risks the next time around for album #4.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
November 17th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

:]

Lord(e)Po)))ts
November 17th 2017


41575 Comments


bädl bahp

Digging: Edyth - Bare II

VaxXi
November 18th 2017


4393 Comments


are asses and saturated red the new album art aesthetic

Tyler.
November 18th 2017


16439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Maybe ill give this a shot

DivergentThinking
November 18th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ass is phat

Relinquished
November 18th 2017


39318 Comments


checkin this

Voltimand
November 18th 2017


971 Comments


The album art is a hand grabbing a butt?

Digging: Jack The Joker - Mors Volta

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
November 18th 2017


6264 Comments


No.

DivergentThinking
November 18th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes.

wwf
November 18th 2017


6219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

disco tits is the fuckin best

DivergentThinking
November 18th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"checkin this"



Yeah man, you should. I remember you being a big fan of Lady Wood

brainmelter
November 18th 2017


6266 Comments


haha no

Digging: Aethyrvorous - Demo

LethalPaintball
November 18th 2017


1001 Comments


i forgot tove lo exists

someguest
November 18th 2017


29892 Comments


At this rate the next album cover is just going to be a closeup of a pussy.

DivergentThinking
November 18th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And then the next album cover will be a graphic photo of intercourse, lol

someguest
November 18th 2017


29892 Comments


pr0n, for the layman

DivergentThinking
November 18th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Um, sorry, but I prefer the term "erotic art" ;)

Ebola
November 18th 2017


3497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So is this closer to Queen than Lady Wood was?

Aiwaz
November 18th 2017


9998 Comments


Nice review bro

DivergentThinking
November 18th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ebola: it's a nice halfway point. You get the light, melodic pop side of Queen of the Clouds mixed with the dark, sexy electronic side Lady Wood had. It's not perfect, but it does play out like the best of both worlds



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