Alt-pop has had a huge movement this year. Girls from all over have proved that you don’t need to have the hottest producers with the sexiest images and generic albums. Tove Lo is the one of the leaders of that pack right now. It’s hard to believe, but her overnight success actually took a year and half to make. Thanks to her current single, ‘Habits (Stay High)’ (that’s inching towards the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100), not only is she the ‘Queen Of The Clouds’, but the Queen of Alt-Pop.
She may have popped up out of nowhere, but Tove Lo has penned some of your favorite pop songs from Icona Pop, to Lea Michele, to The Saturdays. Unlike the people she’s written for, Tove Lo has strayed away from the EDM, dance-pop sound, but instead crafting an alternative, hip-pop, electronic one. It sounds like a melting pot of whatever, but this Swede pulls it off in the best way possible. (Speaking of, these damn Swedes and their pop music. WHAT IS IN THE WATER OVER THERE?)
‘Queen Of The Clouds’ is divided into three sections: “The Sex”, “The Love”, and “The Pain”. The album kicks off with “The Sex”, of course, because ‘passion is the beginning, it’s always going to be the best part’. We kick off with ‘My Gun’, a little ditty about how her body and advances are her weapon choice. The production has an electronic feel to it, it’s subtle underneath all the hand claps and tribal-esque drumming (a sound that overtakes the first third of this album). ‘Like ‘Em Young’ and ‘Talking Body’ are perhaps a bit more forward when it comes to “The Sex”. One describes Tove Lo’s taste for younger men and the other flirts with the idea of finding the perfect partner and ‘fuck(ing) for life’. Both are clear front runners for future singles, with ‘Talking Body’ reported to be next in line. “The Sex” closes out with what’s very likely the album’s biggest track, ‘Timebomb’. It’s got this crazy ambitious melody, a swirling combination of piano, live band, and glitchy electronic production, and her soaring voice. She sings ‘You and I could be the best thing ever’, but I’ve got to negate that. ‘Timebomb’ is the BEST thing ever.
‘And then you freak out because you suddenly meet this person’, Tove Lo purrs as we get into “The Love”. ‘Moments’ is up first that assures us that despite Tove Lo’s slip ups and mistakes she’s still ‘charming as fuck’. So blunt! ‘The Way That I Am’ chronicles that feeling you get when you’re falling in love with someone, but unsure if they’ll accept you for who you are. It’s brutally honest and quite the confessional. The already darker tone gets a bit darker with the added element of some heavily electronic influences. Things pick up on the tinkering ‘Got Love’ before we get engulfed by the monster that is ‘Not On Drugs’. ‘Not On Drugs’, is hands down, my favorite track from the record (FUN FACT: it’s where the album title comes from). It’s just got a great hook, something that I can’t resist, a fantastic sound, and a title that makes you think. You expect the song to be something a little less than satisfying, but instead we get the euphoria that the feeling of being in love gives us. Brilliant.
‘And then there’s no good way to end things…cause it’s ending, you know’. Fitting for the final section. “The Pain” slams us right into ‘Thousand Miles’. It’s a huge song. A very, huge song. If Tove Lo plays her cards right, this song could be a big hit for her in the near future. Of course, her breakout hit falls into this section. I think it’s rather genius that it’s hidden near the end. Personally, I’d rather be exposed to the songs I didn’t know first than hear everything that I’ve come to love. Bravo on this decision, who’s ever it was. The album ultimate culminates with the look back track ‘This Time Around’ and the fan favorite ‘Run On Love’.
Largerly, 2014 in pop music has, well, sucked. There have been a few sparks of light and lots of hope, but nothing really cohesive and groundbreaking has really come out this year. Now, ‘Queen Of The Clouds’ is by no means groundbreaking, but we finally have a solid pop album this year. I mean, it only took ten months and, of course, it’s from Sweden, but it’s finally here. Am I saying that Tove Lo has saved pop in 2014? Yes, she has a part in saving it. Things are changing and we’re still underwhelming by the end of 2013. This breath of fresh air, although familiar, is exciting and renewing. It’s already one of my favorite albums of the year and I can’t say enough good things about it. From the production, to the honesty in Tove Lo’s lyrics and voice, to how perfectly executed her idea for the album, it’s a win and a very solid debut album. She should be proud of herself! I know I am.