This isn’t a great album. Like, at all. It’s by no means a bad album, and Tove Lo is far too talented an artist to allow anything close to a duff be released under her name, but this ended up being one of the more sadly disappointing releases of (kayfabe) this year.
There are definite highlights, but no way near as many resounding confirmations of Ms Lo’s unique and abrasive bubble gum hard house majesty as there were on (kayfabe) last year’s triumphant ‘Lady Wood‘. On that exquisitely brattish and lovably obnoxious collection she seemed to delight in subverting the tropes of RnB-tinged pop, and seemingly satirising the overbearing sanitation of modern pop by having a mouth dirtier than the the third ‘R’ that Christina Aguilera considered far too dirty to put in her 2002 song ‘Dirrty’. Also, she mentions her fanny a lot, which I’m very much in favour of: considering how roughly 67% of all men’s talk concerns their private parts it’s about time we started to even the scales a bit. If Theresa May paused a speech mid-flow and announced that she was having problems with her knickers slipping up her crack, there’d be an outrage! Where’s the justice?!
The lyrics are still aiming for restricted ratings- yer ‘Fully charged/Nipples are hard’, yer ‘All the girls stare at me, drop lip/Dripping in harmony’, yer ‘Fuck some sense into me’- but she’s obviously aiming for more of a Trojan Horse effect, as the tracks are far too often just anonymous, mid-tempo, forgettable and characterless chart filler, which I can only imagine she hopes will increase her chances of gaining wider airplay for her (admirable) tales of positive drug experiences and sexual exploration. Oh, and all the fannies.
That’s why ‘Blue Lips is the first recipient of the ‘Remember the Time?’ award, which awards points to records that are chiefly included on the list due to my love of the artist’s past work rather than the slight damp squib of the record itself.
And, erm, I therefore need to find a way of giving it points…
…but then after thirteen tracks of middling, forgettable and ocassionaly extremely worthwhile but altogether muddled attempts at Tove Lo attempting to make her adult pop a little more widely accessible, the record ends with Hey You Got Drugs, and Lo finally manages to full achieve her goal
Now, power ballads are one of my few weaknesses- along with cola bottle sweets, benzodiazepines, and literally all forms of hazardous gratification (but that only counts as one thing)- but Have You Got Drugs is an absolute marvel of the form. What makes it so effecting is it showcases the only real sad thing about pining for pharmaceutical pleasures: the woman in the song is craving another hit not because she’s some worthless junkie, but because she knows that more drugs could possibly keep the night going and she maybe then wouldn’t have to return to the sadness that is now her reality. It’s a sad song that involves recreational drug use, not as its crux but just recognising it as a thing a normal adult would turn to in a stressful time.
There should be more songs like this, we’ve had enough turning to a ‘bottle of Jack’ or ‘lager drink, cider drink’ when pop stars are sad. I want George Ezra telling us how he was so distraught when caught his girl creeping that he rolled a whole 400g of MDMA up in Rizla paper and bombed it straight away; I want to hear songs where Selena Gomez’s date doesn’t call back so she took a half tab of LSD and visited the Sealife centre, collapsing into giggles looking at the underside of sting rays; I want a Jonas Brothers song about how a girl broke Joey Jonas’s heart so bad he had to ask Jimmy Jonas to blow a hard half kilo of cocaine up his arse with a cocktail straw. These are the songs we want!
Aaaaaaaaw, Tove, I can’t stay mad at you…
Album Length: 44 minutes (+2)
Very Good Songs: 6 (+12)
Brilliant Songs: 5 (+25)
AMAZING Songs: 1 (+10)
Hmmmm, maybe it is a great album… Far more high points than I remembered. There are lots of great pop songs, but they lack the great acidic charisma that Tove brought to ‘Lady Wood’
% of Album Worthwhile: 85.7142857
On brand, and that’s always worth some credit, but it promises a far more exciting contents than an album that too often veers off into the bland can deliver
Previous Entries: 2016 No.51