Album Review: Tove Lo – BLUE LIPS (ladywood phase II)
Swedish tour de force Tove Lo’s third album BLUE LIPS has finally landed on planet earth. Within Tove’s signature branch of female empowerment, there are bangers aplenty that highlight an artist committed to seeing her vision through at every step. BLUE LIPS is 44 minutes worth of raw female sexuality and sensuality, delivered in the kind of confident tone we all need to pay attention to.
Opener LIGHT BEAMS layers samples and vocals from upcoming tracks to an out of this world finale. In a year crammed with boring ‘creative’ intro techniques, Tove’s taste of what is to come will no doubt have you salivating. The bangers come quickly and swiftly, Disco Tits leads the charge with nipple chat aplenty. Female bodies are heavily policed, blocked, reported and even banned from some social media platforms – but on planet Tove Lo the form is revelled in. Wrapped in a self-assured coating, Tove’s appreciation of her own body and the agency it gives her is an empowering message for many.
shedontknowbutsheknows may be a bit of a mouthful, but it’s one worth chewing over again and again. A real early highlight in a record full of standouts, the quintessentially Swedish feel ensure Tove Lo cements herself as someone more than worthy of affection. The sassily titled Bitches is as dripping in bravado as you would expect, Tove sings about having people go down on her – a refreshing subject matter in a world where women are used simply as objects.
The potentially sexually explicit subject matter is not crass or done to shock, it’s an exercise in gender equality – a woman singing about her partners in the same way many heterosexual men get to do on the radio every day. The double-edged sword of being a female artist, yet not being able to speak about certain things for fear of being judged is not something Tove Lo concerns herself with, and it’s an approach that challenges out-dated societal norms with a fresh set of eyes.
Romantics is the only slight slip up on this record, and this is only because of Daye Jack’s inclusion. His presence brings nothing to meet the exceptionality of Tove when she’s flying solo. Bad Days is the closest Tove gets to a ballad, highlighting how complex emotional beings we are when juxtaposed with the badass nature of the rest of the album. The affectionately named Hey You Got Drugs? isn’t the narcotic fuelled frenzy you may be expecting, but nonetheless it is the ideal wind down tune to cuddle up with.
BLUE LIPS is very much a late contender for a spot on album of the year lists, the no holds barred approach to female sexuality feels progressive without being too maverick in its overall vibe. The feminist heart beats strongly throughout everything Tove Lo does, and BLUE LIPS feels like her most accomplished album to date.