Tove Lo, Lady Wood | Album Review
Swedish alternative pop artist Tove Lo Compels on her sophomore album, Lady Wood. “Cool Girl” and “Keep it Simple” serve as highlights from the LP.
Alternative pop artist Tove Lo has seen her profile elevated substantially. Since releasing her debut album, Queen of the Clouds, she’s collaborated with numerous artists including Adam Lambert (“Rumors”), Nick Jonas (“Close”), and Flume (“Say It”). It’s safe to say that sophomore LP Lady Wood is highly anticipated. Album number two definitely lives up to the hype.
Lady Wood initiates with a short interlude, “Fairy Dust – Chapter I.” The set’s first full-length track, “Influence,” follows, featuring Wiz Khalifa. It doesn’t take long for Tove Lo to drop the bomb – the f-bomb (“First line, take mine – I’m fine as f*ck.”) A cool, slickly produced track, she excels at sexiness, exemplified by the hook:
“You know I’m under the influence / so don’t trust every word I say, I say / when I’m under the influence / it’s a blur, but I want my way, my way.”
Title track “Lady Wood” gives Tove Lo another slickly produced cut with a stellar groove. Essentially, Tove Lo is “turned on” by this guy, despite what everyone else thinks and says about him.
“I know what people say about you / they say the same about me / I don’t care if it’s all true / I want you hanging with me.”
She goes on confirm her strong feelings on the bridge. She likens them to morning wood, transforming the male reference to a female variant of the reference.
“Perfect imperfections with mistakes and unlearned lessons / yeah, you give me wood / give me lady wood / dirty on the inside, damaged goods with nothing but pride / yeah, you give me wood / give me lady wood.”
“True Disaster” keeps Lady Wood afloat, finding Tove Lo once more favoring unusual suspects. On the first verse, she sings:
“Pretty boys, they didn’t teach me things I didn’t know / they don’t have the thing I need, but they don’t know they don’t.”
Essentially, she wants someone different, who doesn’t fit the mold to be her boo. She also seems to suggest who she wants is surprised that she wants him, which adds another interesting dimension to “True Disaster.”
“Keep playing my heartstrings faster and faster / you can be just what I want, my true disaster.”
Promo single “Cool Girl” incorporates elements of EDM and urban-pop. Danceable, the groove is infectious as albeit. Inspired by a scene from the film Gone Girl, Tove Lo is trying to do whatever it takes to win him over. On the verses, Tove Lo employs low-key, cool vocals, while her voice expands on the pre-chorus and chorus. The chorus is simple but catchy:
“I’m a cool girl, I’m a I’m a cool girl / Ice cold, I roll my eyes at you, boy.”
Ultimately, “Cool Girl” is well-rounded; highly enjoyable.
“Vibes” featuring Joe Janiak serves as the final part of the first chapter of Lady Wood. As always, Tove Lo delivers cool, sensual vocals. Her performance is further accentuated by Janiak’s vocal contributions during the second verse. A catchy, chill chorus serves as the song’s best moment.
“Fire Fade – Chapter II” begins the contrasting second half of Lady Wood. “Don’t Talk About It” follows, keeping the momentum going strong. Production continues to be a selling point, not to mention the clear, cool vocals by Tove Lo. On “Imaginary Friend,” she spills her soul about the criticism and scrutiny of others. Ultimately, her imaginary friend is the only one who understands her struggles.
“Keep It Simple”
“Keep It Simple” is one of the set’s slickest records. Tove Lo isn’t ready for a new relationship. Nonetheless, that doesn’t keep her from delivering a dash of innuendo:
“You got body and my knees, they go weak / lie awake and read your sext, I can’t sleep / I wish I wanted what you want, not yet free / but I’m breathing, I’m breathing, I’m breathing.”
Ultimately, she wants to decide when she’s ready to commit.
“Flashes,” another standout, finds Tove Lo criticizing her boyfriend. She’s a celebrity in the public eye. That means that every mistake she makes is out there for the entire world to see. She challenges his reaction to such, questioning his support and hypocrisy.
“When I f*ck things up / when I f*ck things up in front of camera flashes / what about you? / when all I built up / when all I built up with sweat, blood, tears just crashes / what about you?”
“WTF Love Is” concludes Lady Wood, reminiscing back on an ended relationship and detailing the totality – good and bad – of love.
“All the cards with all the love clichés / I wouldn’t have it any other way / shake your head, you don’t believe this / then what the f*ck do you think love is?”
All in all, Tove Lo delivers a well-rounded sophomore album with Lady Wood. Even though her performances are cool, she has oomph – a bite about her musically. The production work is exceptional throughout, while the songwriting isn’t too shabby. Lady Wood isn’t the ‘album of the year’, but it is a strong effort without question.
Gems: “Influence,” “Lady Wood,” “Cool Girl,” “Keep It Simple” & “Flashes”