By Maddie Young, Contributor
[Universal Music AB; 2019]
Key tracks: “Jacques”, “Bad as the Boys”
Swedish singer Tove Lo has made a name for herself as a modern star with a forthright attitude toward her sexuality, and she delivers her fourth studio album, Sunshine Kitty, which details her lust for bad decisions. After three albums characterized by carefree girl anthems, Sunshine Kitty purrs with trap and Latin influences that pop music doesn’t see enough.
The album picks up from the narrative that was left untold on Blue Lips: she finally broke up with her partner, who caused her two albums of pain, and now she is “Glad He’s Gone”. The lead single is like every feminist breakup song; it is liberating and unapologetic. Although these types of songs are often overdone in pop music, this is not only some of Tove Lo’s most vulnerable writing but is also some of her clubbiest.
In “Bad as the Boys”, she opens up about the death of a queer relationship. “But she’s gone now, took my heart and sunk with it / She was just as bad as the boys”. Hey, girls can break hearts too! She distinctly describes the struggles of bi women competing for female attention in a heterosexual-dominant dating world. The emotion behind this song can really resonate with fans who are finally seeing themselves represented in pop music.
Rather than portraying herself as an effortless “Cool Girl”, she now has to “Turn my charm on / hoping that I look awesome,” which she sings on “Equally Lost.” This song is almost every college student’s Saturday night, wanting to go home with someone for the night with no strings attached. Tove Lo has always been open about her sexuality, and she should be praised for her willingness to tell her story. She has the formula down: craft some glittering tunes filled with repetitive hooks, and she has herself a successful bop.
However, that formula becomes tiring on Sunshine Kitty. Listening to the whole album, the Chainsmokers type beat gets boring, resulting in occasionally blunt writing thrown over a powerful bass. Playing tracks with a break in between is the only way to listen to this album. There is too little variety, and it seems as if she is afraid to reach outside the boundaries of the current pop status quo. When an artist has albums titled Lady Wood, Blue Lips, and Sunshine Kitty, fans expect some raw and unique content.
This album is exhilarating and takes you on a journey that is Tove Lo’s own path to positivity. It’s clear that she accepts who she is and isn’t afraid to share that. This album isn’t just fun as hell, but it’s empowering to hear. At the end of the day, it is overall a fun album that meets the quota for mainstream pop music.