September 20, 2019 Tove Lo – Sunshine Kitty (Album Review)
Dark Electropop artist Tove Lo is ready to deliver some fierce Girl Power with her brand new release, Sunshine Kitty. Island Records deliver the collection on Friday, September 20th, 2019.
Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum Swedish Singer-Songwriter Tove Lo started her career in music with a publishing deal in 2011, then released her major label debut, Queen of the Clouds, in 2014. The success of her single “Habits (Stay High)” began Tove’s rise to Pop fame and the album peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200. After receiving the Swedish Grammis Awards for Artist of the Year and Song of the Year in 2015, she would go on to deliver 2016’s Lady Wood and 2017’s Blue Lips, as well as collaborate with everyone from Coldplay and Nick Jonas to Wiz Khalifa and Icona Pop.
For her fourth full-length disc, Tove worked with a cavalcade of producers including The Struts (Tori Kelly, Zara Larsson), Shellback (Maroon 5, Taylor Swift), Jax Jones (Tinie Tempah, Duke Dumont), Mark Ralph (Clean Bandit, Rudimental), Mattman & Robin (Imagine Dragons, Selena Gomez), Ian Kirkpatrick (Dua Lipa, Julia Michaels), Ludvig Söderberg (Tove Lo, Dagny), Jack & Coke (Nick Jonas, Hayley Kiyoko), and Joel Little (Lorde, Taylor Swift).
Recorded between Los Angeles and Sweden, the 14-song Sunshine Kitty represents a new chapter for Tove—who has amassed more than 5 billion combined global streams—marked by a reclamation of confidence, hard-earned wisdom, more time, and a budding romance.
Sunshine Kitty opens to the under one minute intro, “Gritty Pretty.” Here, guitar strums as a man named Mateo leaves a phone message in Italian for Lo, informing her that he’s just broken up with her best friend Uma. While it’s nothing monumental, sonically speaking, this short bit sets the tone for the entire album, which is thick with the trials and tribulations of young love.
Case in point, the first proper track, “Glad He’s Gone,” is a delicate little Pop bop that uses some risque double entendres to discuss a break-up with a sucker that’s not worthy of tears. This leads into the far catchier and more alluring “Bad as the Boys,” which features Finnish singer-songwriter Alma. A flirty summer love that ends in heartbreak, here Tove proves that big girls do cry.
Continuing to show off her vocal chops, the catchy “Sweettalk my Heart” couples some gentle Reggae feels with Tove’s usual ethereal, Electropop style to craft a bespelling ballad-esque offering. Then she increases the beat to get your hips swaying with the sultry pleas of “Stay Over,” before Moog synths open and anchor “Are U gonna tell her?” Featuring Brazilian Rap and Funk artist MC Zaac, the duet is an odd pairing of Tove’s angelic vocals and MC Zaac rapping in Portuguese —but it somehow works.
For the thumping dance beat of “Jacques,” Tove pairs with British Producer and multi-instrumentalist Jax Jones to craft a catchy dance number. However, it is the ballad “Mateo” that truly allows her to soar and embrace an emotionally moving approach to her new material. Placing her powerful vocals in the spotlight rather than guest artists or catchy electronics, the track shows another facet to Tove’s sonic personality while providing a stellar and serious moment in an already fun collection.
At this point, it’s hard to know what to expect next, but “Come Undone” continues this intimate trend that focuses on Tove’s vocal strengths over the studio accoutrements. Although, she does return to those delicate, hip-swaying, Reggae-dusted summer vibes with “Equally Lost,” which features singer-songwriter Doja Cat. All this before the lovely Kylie Minogue guests on the synth-beats of “Really don’t like u,” a radio-ready little bop.
A darker synth vibe permeates the core of “Shifted,” a prance through a frustratingly uneven relationship, before the 1980s Sci-Fi Moog synth vibes continue into “Mistaken.” Here, a snap-along beat allows Tove to confess her tendency to over-analyze and blow things out of proportion. An honest admission, it’s catchy and fully relatable and the perfect segue into “Anywhere u go,” a sweet little love song that allows the album to go out on a simple but positive note.
Sunshine Kitty is full of young love, summery vibes, and plenty of reasons to dance. The perfect balance of catchy Pop antics, fresh electronics, and Tove’s natural, vocal talents, all with a darkly moody twist, the album shows that this fierce female is truly embracing her talents and opening a new chapter, musically speaking. Sure, not all of the songs are as strong, lyrically, as what she is capable of producing, but Sunshine Kitty is the door opening on a brilliant new horizon. For this, Cryptic Rock give Sunshine Kitty 4 of 5 stars.