Tove Lo is an artist unafraid to use sexuality in her work. Whether that be in her lyrics; album title; or the album’s accompanying short film, “Fairy Dust“. That sexuality isn’t used for shock or as an empty attempt to gain followers, but is instead part of the deep rooted feelings behind her music.
“Lady Wood” came across to me as Tove Lo’s most consistent piece of work to date. Don’t get me wrong – I love “Queen of the Clouds” – but something about her latest release seemed more consistent; more conceptual. These songs are tied together really well, with every single one of them being an absolute killer that grow with every listen.
A confident, more focused, second album
With the lighting of a single candle, experimental effects and a beautiful-sounding synth, “Fairy Dust (Chapter 1)” ushers us into the world of Tove Lo’s “Lady Wood”. It’s definitely one of my favourite intros to an album this year, and leads really well into the first full-length song, “Influence”.
“Influence” is an infectious steady build for the album and peaks brilliantly at it’s chorus’ awesome deep bass line. I remember the synthesizer’s sound in particular stood out to me, and fit in perfectly with my recent obsession with synthwave music.
Following “Influence” comes the album’s titular song “Lady Wood”, which is also a favourite of mine. Another steady build up with soft, minimal percussion lead to one of my favourite lyrics from the whole album:
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
Lady Wood by Tove LoLady Wood by Tove Lo
“Lady Wood”, the song, also comes across as a slightly reined-in club dance hit, which is a nice breather before the absolute belter that comes next, in the shape of “True Disaster”.
As I mentioned earlier there is an accompanying short film to this album called “Fairy Dust”. One of the stand out parts of that film was in the performance of “True Disaster” – all in one continuous take by the look of it. It was seeing that performance that made this song in particular stand out the more as being one of my favourites. Like many of the songs here, it builds up really well and peaks with an absolutely banging chorus.
“Lady Wood” includes some interesting featured artists across a couple of the songs, none of which I’d heard of before. In particular the album’s mid-way song, “Vibes”, features a chap called Joe Janiak and has one of the most interesting chorus deliveries of the album. “Vibes” almost comes out of left field, in that its opening is performed on an acoustic finger-picked guitar. It gives the album a stylistic change to the music contained up till this point.
No, let’s not put a label on it
Let’s keep it fun
We don’t put a label on it
So we can run free, yeah
I wanna be free like you
Cool Girl by Tove LoCool Girl by Tove Lo
The rest of the album’s second half follows suit by blasting out great song after great song. There is a great use of electronic samples and synthesizers throughout this album that just serve to increase my addiction to it.
Not one of the songs made me want to skip forward – if you’re going to listen to this album, then you will listen to it. Just listen through the first minute of “Keep it Simple” and tell me the synth drop doesn’t kick ass.
A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust
As well as listening to “Lady Wood”, I also strongly urge you to take half an hour to watch Tove’s film “Fairy Dust” – and probably not at work either. Watching this film really gave me an extra depth when listening to the album after. I’m not going to pretend I understood the story 100% or that I got all the metaphors etc, but as a piece of art and an album accompaniment, it’s first class. Just watch Tove Lo’s performance in the opening scene and you’re sure to be pulled in immediately.
You can buy Tove Lo’s “Lady Wood” on Amazon today.