Showing posts with label tove lo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tove lo. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

video review: 'sunshine kitty' by tove lo

Oh boy, this was a pretty sizable disappointment... but trust me when I say I've got something much worse in the wings - stay tuned!

album review: 'sunshine kitty' by tove lo

At this point, I'm a little mystified why I'm as eager as I am to look up a new Tove Lo album. 

Seriously, there are other projects that would normally be higher on my list - it's not like I don't have catch-up projects from last week and Tove Lo isn't even the biggest story coming out of this week of releases, be it Blink-182 somehow impressing the longtime fans or the Zac Brown Band delivering an outright catastrophe. And yet my thoughts kept coming back to the fact that of the mainstream and mainstream-adjacent pop acts this decade, she's been among the most ambitious, working to structure narrative-driven concept albums that actually can have some lyrical nuance at their best - I'm not about to forget her closer track 'hey you got drugs?' from her last album Blue Lips that somehow wound up as one of my favourite songs of 2017. But then I remember how damn inconsistent her production is, and how there have been tracts of her albums that feel like they're reaching for more insight than they actually deliver, or how thematically much of her first three albums have been retracing the same burned-out arc, or how she dove so deeply into selling sexuality that it almost has reached parody. I mean, credit to her for owning it as much as she has, but when your albums as of late have been titled Lady Wood, Blue Lips, and Sunshine Kitty, the double entendres are getting played out. But regardless, the reviews seem... well, as inconsistent as ever for her, but I was curious, so what did we get from Sunshine Kitty?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

video review: 'blue lips' by tove lo

Well, this was... mostly disappointing, but eh, it happens. Next up, though... whoo boy, time to handle some old business...

album review: 'blue lips' by tove lo it safe to say I had low expectations going into this record?

Because I remember having the feeling that Tove Lo had so much damn promise coming out of Queen Of The Clouds: clearly ambitious with a lot of personality, aiming to touch on darker, more sexual, more nakedly dangerous and reckless material and with the sharp songwriting and knack for pop hooks that made her a hell of a rising talent in 2014... and then two years later all of that went out the window with Lady Wood, the first half of a two-part project that left a lot of listeners wondering whether the second half would be worth the bother. The melodies had been sucked away, the delivery had shoved the melodramatic impulses and intensity into the murk, and despite clearly trying to convey a potent story, the record felt more conceptually underweight than ever. And that makes for an awkward admission: for as many times as I've listened to Lady Wood, even just a year later I don't remember it at all, and that's not a good sign going into the record's 'sequel'.

Now reportedly this was aiming to be a more emotive and expressive record, less of the dark house elements and more straightforward dance pop - hell, if your lead-off single is called 'Disco Tits', it's definitely clear you're even trying for subtlety this time around! But on the flip side, it wasn't as if she switched up her production or writing teams, so there was a very real possibility this record could wind up as barren and swamped out as her last one. But hey, it couldn't get worse than Lady Wood, right?

Monday, October 31, 2016

video review: 'lady wood' by tove lo

Well, this was definitely a real disappointment. Certainly was hoping from more from this record, but instead... well, misgivings were proven correct.

And on that unfortunate note, Kenny Chesney is next (because I still need more time for Avenged Sevenfold), so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

album review: 'lady wood' by tove lo

I've had a sinking feeling about this record for the past few weeks now. And believe me, I definitely haven't wanted that, but the misgivings about this record started coming out early and haven't really stopped. 

See, when I first heard Tove Lo in 2014, I was pretty impressed with her debut Queen Of The Clouds. Not a great pop album, but I saw buckets of potential from a fairly smart songwriter with a knack for pop nuance and good hooks. And coupled with a forceful and surprisingly layered performance, I thought Tove Lo could easily build herself a potent pop career and give most of her contemporaries some serious competition. And for a while it seemed like she had some momentum: 'Habits (Stay High)' was huge, 'Talking Body' was a very respectable follow-up, and 'Close', her collaboration with Nick Jonas, grew on me a fair bit. And I really liked Tove Lo's artistic persona: wild, reckless, she pushed her lyrics into some dark territory, even if on some level you wished she could take as many chances with her instrumentation and production, or that her lyrics didn't always show the self-awareness to elevate the flagrant irresponsibility, add more subtext.

But while I initially dug her lead-off single 'Cool Girl', with everything else I learned about her sophomore project the more concerned I got, starting with the incredibly on-the-nose album title. Coupled with the fact that she had kept the same production team and the biggest guest star on this record was Wiz Khalifa, plus the fact that she was going for a double album concept on a record that didn't even crack forty minutes...hate to say it, but it rang as trying too hard to shock or grab people's attention. And sure, that's her prerogative and I generally like that forceful personality, but her lack of greater subtlety meant the play to greater sexuality felt all the more brazen... and while many of her younger fans might not remember, I'm familiar with what happened to Madonna in the early 90s - eventually if you try too hard to shock in this lane, people don't get surprised in the same way.

But maybe I'm being too harsh here, maybe there was a place for Tove Lo's directness in 2016, so I took a long hard look at Lady Wood - what did I find?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 22, 2016 (VIDEO)

Look, I don't need to say anything with this one beyond HOLY SHIT FALSE ALARM IS AWESOME and you all need to be listening it - okay, I'll stop.

On a different note, we've got Epica, Opeth, OneRepublic, and Daya on the way, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 22, 2016

So here's the other thing about the last weeks of a Billboard year - more than ever, it becomes a game of timing if you're looking to land a song on the year end list. Release the song early enough and it's no issue, but unless you've got a guaranteed smash hit heading for an inevitable #1, it might actually serve you better to release your songs a little later - keep in mind that most tracks will only ever stick around for twenty weeks on the charts, and the last thing you want is to release a track where midway through its lifespan the year shifts and you're only left with a portion of that time to rack up the accumulated sales, streaming, and airplay to get on the next year's list.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 27, 2016 (VIDEO)

Overall an interesting week, can't say I'm wild about Suicide Squad but overall pretty solid all around.

Next up Young The Giant, so stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 27, 2016

So let me tell you a bit about my previous weekend. Had a party with friends on Friday, went to a bachelor party on Saturday, and most of Sunday recovering and working my way through a bunch of records in my backlog to cover my schedule this week... all of which meant that I have not yet had a chance to see Suicide Squad. Which, if you're judging by its second week numbers, if you didn't see it opening weekend you likely didn't see it at all - and yet it doesn't mean I'm not talking about the movie, because it was the biggest impact to the charts, with considerable gains, a few new arrivals, one returning entry, and even a new top five track! Frankly, I'm a little bewildered the soundtrack has had so much staying power, but popular phenomenon pop up all the time - I just wished I liked more of it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - april 16, 2016

So as I predicted, this week is indeed busier than last week, with not just more activity within the charts but a slew of new arrivals... and yet my predictions why this happened seem to have mostly gone unanswered. Sure, Zayn's debut album Mind of Mine made an impact, but not with any new arrivals. Instead... well, let's just say that I'd prefer Zayn had gotten traction than Young Thug.

Friday, February 6, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 14, 2015 (VIDEO)

By the Nine Hells, it gets annoying when the upload keeps failing. In any case, I'm actually really quite happy with this episode - finally, some good songs and signs for the future.

Next up... you know, I haven't done a country review in a while. Let's change that, shall we...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 14, 2015

This was one of the more deceptive weeks for the Hot 100 - not that it was a bad or good week, we'll get to that, but that from first glance, not a lot seemed to change or evolve. I mean, the Top 10 barely seemed to shift at all, and we only have seven songs, new or returning, to talk about. But look a little deeper and you'll start to see a lot more traffic, some expected, but a fair bit that did surprise me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

video review: 'queen of the clouds' by tove lo

So apparently the upload failed in the middle of the night, and I was long asleep. Figures. In any case, it's a pretty solid review, generally happy with this one.

Okay, next up is Perfume Genius, so stay tuned!

Monday, September 29, 2014

album review: 'queen of the clouds' by tove lo

So as the end of the Billboard year approaches in a few months, many music critics, particularly those of us who cover pop music, are starting to formulate their ending pieces for the year - and like always, this involves many of us looking back to put things in the larger context of history. And inevitably this means placing 2014 in comparison to 2013 and asking the question of what changed?

Because really, there was a lot of change. 2012 saw the indie boom and the death of the club boom, but 2013 was a transitional, cacophonous mess, with the exploding swell of bro-country, the retro-disco revival, rap's return to trap music, and mainstream rock doing precisely nothing on the Hot 100 if your band wasn't named Imagine Dragons. But more specifically, 2013 was the year where pop music adopted some element of self-awareness and began actively criticizing itself, and it led to the breakout success of Macklemore and especially Lorde. And while we really haven't seen many repeats of Macklemore's formula - mostly because a white, socially conscious rapper who has no idea how to properly manage his social conscience is a hard thing to replicate - I knew it was only a matter of time before Lorde's self-awareness would bleed over into mainstream pop music.

And sure enough, it happened. 2014 has been a slicker, intentionally more reserved year than 2013, with the mainstream success of neo-soul, folktronica, and the collapse of bro-country. And sure, the success of Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, and Taylor Swift meant that straightforward pop wasn't dead, but along the margins you got songs like Sia's 'Chandelier', a song about drinking away one's emptiness that sounded way more desperate than you'd normally hear on the pop charts, a critique of the club boom anthems written from the inside.

Enter Tove Lo, Swedish pop singer-songwriter who has written songs for Icona Pop, Girls Aloud, Cher Lloyd, and Lea Michele before breaking into pop with her own hit 'Habits (Stay High)', an impressively bleak song about Tove Lo self-destructing in drugs, alcohol, and random sexual encounters. And while both 'Habits (Stay High)' and 'Chandelier' play in the same emotional playground of desperate, hyperbolic emptiness, the more personal stakes and greater detail of Tove Lo's song gripped me a fair bit more, and I made sure to pick up her album Queen Of The Clouds, which buzz suggested was fairly ambitious in terms of scope and songwriting. So I gave some attention: what did I find?