Tove Lo’s previous three albums danced in the dark with ballads on sex, drugs, and hangover relationship. Her blunt honesty, catchy nightclub beats, and explicit lyrics left a memorable impression on a generation partying to forget. As the title of her latest release suggests, Sunshine Kitty steps from the nightlife into the day. The album is full of summer vibes with a touch of sultry Spanish to explore the passion and shame from living last night to the fullest. With the success of her last three moonlit albums, Tove Lo could have continued chasing the night highs, but Sunshine Kitty shines a light on a wiser yet still wild side of her.
Whether you love or can’t stand her music, it is hard to forget the sexually charged lyrics. “Did you go down on his birthday? (Yup)/ Did you let him leave a necklace? (Yup),” and that is near the opening of the album. She throws out romantic coyness and deftly weaves the nasty into her lyrics with a poet’s poise. Later in the album she sings, “Already deep in my bed, baby/ Why don’t you stay over?” With each verse, she gets to the heart of the battle between sex and love without falling into gratuitous obscenity.
A large part of Tove Lo’s early success resided in her ability to relay wild and forgetful nights with such honest clarity. Her hit, “Habits (Stay High)” from Queen of the Clouds grew to universal appeal because her young and rowdy audience could finally put to words why they continue to blow their minds on drugs. Each of her early songs was personal to Tove Lo but could be extended to the lives of every young person looking to get high. With Sunshine Kitty, each song is a specific scenario or breakup in Tove Lo’s life. It is a singer relaying her experiences rather than universal themes. This is a new method for her to explore musical storytelling, but a less memorable one for an audience who found such personal meaning in her earlier work.
Tove Lo is a pop artist who is always uniquely herself. Rather than presenting unobtainable ideals on faux girlhood purity, she sings for all the big girls out there who despite their better judgment find themselves dating bad boys (as well as girls who are as bad as the boys). While her audience can always expect the same badass who does not care for petty judgments, her music will continue to develop as the life experiences she picks up are viewed under a more mature light.