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Blue Lips [Lady Wood Phase 2] by Tove Lo

Lady Wood was one of my favourite albums from last year and still gets regular plays in my headphones. I was excited to say the least when I heard about Tove Lo’s follow-up Blue Lips [Lady Wood Phase 2].

A continuation of Lady Wood

This album felt more akin to the sweaty underground night clubs I imagine with her music. The kind of clubs where people are pressed tightly together; almost tasting each other’s sweat. The previous album had these moments but Blue Lips felt like these aesthetics were brought more into the foreground. The album’s intro and following lead single, ‘Disco Tits’, gave me the impression that a more deep bass / drum-driven collection of songs were contained.

There was a song from Tove Lo’s short film Fairy Dust, specifically the closing scene… that closing scene, that I didn’t recognise at the time. So I loved it when that very song, ‘bitches’,  came punching through my headphones to close off this album’s first half.

It’s not all boom boom boom

Although I like a good punchy beat-driven album now and again, I was relieved when I heard ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’, the album’s fifth track. It’s proof that she knows, as she sings on Disco Tits, how to dial it back. ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ is more focused on her beautiful vocals and the direct message of acceptance she’s delivering to her other half in the song.

And baby, don’t ask, then don’t tell
Already know you’re fucked up
And it’s cool with me
My past and don’t ask and don’t tell
No need to share too much
Come on, let it be, ah (and baby)
dont ask dont tell – Tove Lo

dont ask dont tell – Tove Lo

This feeling is continued later in the album with the reminiscent ‘9th of October’, which actually started life as a poem that Tove wrote on her Birthday. This, along with the album’s closing track, ‘hey you got drugs?’, are two of my favourite songs from the album.

NSFW (not safe for work)

As I’ve come to expect from Tove Lo’s work, there is a high degree of sexual content in these songs. She’s definitely an artist who goes to places that other artists I listen to don’t. She’s not afraid of exposing herself, both physically and mentally, for her art and I respect that. I say that, not as a pervy guy just looking for filth, but as someone in admiration for her honesty and close to the bone approach to music.

Singers often sing about sadness; happiness; fear; love. But very rarely do they venture into the realms of the sexual. This too is an important part of what it means to be human, so why shouldn’t artists explore these issues too? Tove Lo seems to make up for the more reserved artists by spending a good portion of her album there.

In Summary

As great an album as I have come to expect from Tove, following her Lady Wood. Blue Lips is the continuation of her exploration and revelations in her relationships and the emotions they bring. Although I didn’t find this album as accessible initially, I still love to listen to it when the mood hits me right. And don’t take me to mean less accessible as a bad thing – it’s not. I just find Lady Wood a lot easier to listen to at any time, whereas Blue lips has its time and place for me.

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Lady Wood by Tove Lo

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 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.

Featured Artists

“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 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.