By: Brett Slaughenhaupt – Staff Writer
“First line, take mine; I’m fine as f***”
And with that, we are thrust back into the world of feminist confidence-to-a-fault of Tove Lo. Her follow-up to 2014’s outstanding LP “Queen of the Clouds,” “Lady Wood,” does not succumb to any sort of sophomore slump, with hit after hit for the entire 39 minute runtime. Tove Lo has never been afraid to talk about sexuality and her own experiences, but this album finds her delving deeper into its direct consequences from its use as a means to an end.
Similar to her first LP, “Lady Wood” is structured in two chapters, “Fairy Dust” and “Fire Fade”, which are just parts one and two of a four part story.
Her next LP, to be released next year, will finish the story with “Light Beams” and “Pitch Black”.
“Chapter I” channels the rush of adrenaline that comes from an initial attraction. This includes the drug-infused “Influence” with help from Wiz Khalifa, the Gone Girl-inspired “Cool Girl,” and title track “Lady Wood,” which sees Tove at her most meta and on-the-nose. “Chapter II” is the crash down from the first chapter’s high. “Don’t Talk About It” and “Keep It Simple” highlight the regretful emotions that come from living “a life you don’t need.”
With the album split, Tove takes us down a rabbit hole of dangerous decisions and rocky relationships; this is not Taylor Swift. With each subsequent song, the beat hits harder and the synths get deeper until it reaches a sort of desperation with the song “Keep It Simple.” At this point, we are witnessing her play into sex as a tool to get what she wants, which is to numb herself from other problems:
“Physical to trick your heart / You are moving on
Physical to feel okay / That’s what people say
Physical I better try / So this ain’t goodbye”
This leads to the final two songs, which are the most successful in transcending Tove’s persona of feminista fatale. “Flashes” looks at our objectification of those in the limelight and the ways in which people feed off of the drama that they create. Basically, after listening to her get into situation after situation, the camera is turned on us.
The closing song, “WTF Love Is” shows Tove Lo the night after, looking for something new to have. Ending with the line “I need another,” we can be sure to expect more great art from Tove Lo in the near future.
Photo Courtesy of vogue.com