Tove Lo Stays Afloat with Queen of the Clouds

Swedish pop artist Tove Lo, who gained popularity this past year with “Habits (Stay High),” released her debut album Queen of the Clouds on September 30th through Universal Records. The album is divided into different sections including a more explicit, passionate tracks (The Sex), moving to romance (The Love), and to the end of romance (The Pain) to symbolize stages of a crumbling relationship.

The first grouping of tracks titled The Sex starts with “My Gun.” The clapping on the upbeats are cool and maintains a lot of energy. She proclaims dominance by asserting her powerful position. Tove Lo’s vocals sound young and it works well with her style and vibe of the song. “Like Em Young” is coy and cougarish except Tove Lo is only like 27, and she sings that she likes them young like me with a mind so easy, so it’s about boys closer to her age and not necessarily creepy. Upbeat like the previous track, it’s one of those fun tunes you want to dance and sing to. Youth is key to her playful style in this section which she seduces her soon to be lover.

Talking Body” is sexy and expressive. “Timebomb” is ethereal and light, making her voice airier in the upper range. It’s high energy and a perfect way to describe a potentially explosively perfect relationship.

The Love section lacks the spark of the previous section. The tracks are more mellow and become less memorable in comparison. “Moments” is about having flaws but having enough good moments to be lovable. “The Way That I Am” follows the same idea but the music is more sad sounding. The repetitiveness of the ideas blur tracks together and reduces the energy felt in the first section. “Got Love” is upbeat in a similar rhythm as “My Gun,” but with less energy and ends up being not as memorable.

Not On Drugs” is the best track from this section with a lot of oomph in the chorus with the help from the bass. The instances of silence against the sudden intensity from the bass is very well timed. Tove Lo’s vocals as it reaches up in the chorus when she sings I’m not on drugs/I’m just in love has a pure sound that emphasize the clear feelings she is professing.

The Pain section is the best section in the album. There is depth that is more meaningful than the cheery sections. The songs in minor key bring out the intense feelings during a breakup. “Thousand Miles” is a good example, with the lyrics describing trying and pleading to get back together. “Habits (Stay High)” was on repeat all summer and it’s a song about an extreme case of the breakup blues. It’s very relatable to anyone who has been through a breakup with references to binge eating Twinkies, even if it does go to the extreme of drug usage. It’s an obvious contrast to “Not On Drugs” from The Love section. The stacatto vocal section in the verse set against the ambience in the chorus is like fighting back between sobriety and being high. “This Time Around” reminisces on the time when she was cherished and loved. It’s slower and the sadness is portrayed by the feeling of being numb.

Queen of the Clouds will most likely be the next go to mix for DJs all over the country. The beats are tight and and vocals clear and precise. The intentional flow of the album is easily heard and felt, but there is a slight lull in the middle section that keeps the album from being superb. Tove Lo is constantly releasing new versions of her songs so keep an eye out for her new material and follow her on Twitter for more updates.

Image courtesy of the artist.

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