Album Review: Tove Lo – BLUE LIPS (lady wood phase II)

By Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
[Island; 2017]
Rating: 6.5/10

Key Tracks: “don’t ask don’t tell”, “stranger”, “9th of october”

BLUE LIPS is Tove Lo’s third album and is the continuation of the ideas and themes from her previous album, Lady Wood. The album is an amalgamation of beaming electronic melody and beats over her uncensored, raw lyrics.

“LIGHT BEAMS” opens the album in a short, but bursting electronic track. It sets the mood for the record that is followed pretty well by the rest of the tracks. “Disco tits” is a drug-fueled track with descending synth and Tove Lo’s electric vocals. “I’m fully charged / nipples are hard ready to go” is one of the more repeated examples of how Tove Lo is going to say what she wants, whether or not it makes you uncomfortable.

“Shivering gold” shudders and waves into a synth rhythm that is almost slow enough to be a sexy slow-jam, but its danceable elements keep the song from really fitting into that category. This vibe is broken with “don’t ask don’t tell”, as it elevates into Tove Lo’s soprano voice over simple percussion. It carries a theme of aloof forgiveness as she sings “I already know you fucked up / and it’s cool with me.” The track fizzles out near the end, but it’s not enough to kill the whole song.

A catchy guitar riff and an electronic beat pair up for “stranger”, a harder-hitting track about a hook-up. It’s a different turn for this album and feels more yearning and darker than the previous tracks. One of the best parts about it is when all of the background music drops off, turning into just vocals over a single piano, before bursting back into the opening guitar riff. “Romantics” has some nice instrumentals, and the overall vibe of this track is cool. It’s not the best track on the album, but it’s definitely worth listening if you like trap/electronic music. “Cycles” is kind of the same way, especially with the percussive synth and the woodblock effect.

“9th of october” follows one of her love affairs and explains how it was cliché, wonderful and different, even though it hurts to think back on it. Some of the effects from the previous tracks are repeated, and it’s a nice culmination of what the album has to offer. The album ends with “hey you got drugs?”, a track about getting high and hooking up with people. Again, great music and production, but it’s just hard to get on board with tracks that glorify drug culture, especially after recent deaths in the music industry.

This album feels kind of long, but it’s hard to tell why. The lack of censorship is refreshing, and the backgrounds hold up pretty well. It’s cool that Tove Lo is so open about her sexuality without feeling judgemental about it, which is missing from a lot of female musicians. Just don’t let your mom walk in on you listening to this. Be safe, kids.

Listen here:

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