Dirt Femme is the perfect name for Tove Lo’s provocative new album

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Album cover for Tove Lo's Dirt Femme. The artist stands with body facing left, while head is craned to look towards the camera, as if looking in the viewer's eyes. The album cover is mostly tan, silver, and white colors with Tove Lo only wearing a silver scorpion tail attached to a tan body suit. They stand amidst and arid desert.

Recommended Tracks: Grapefruit and Call on Me

Artists You May Like: Bea Miller, Fletcher, ELIO, and LÉON

Synthesizer and skilled production are what Tove Lo emerges with on her newest album, Dirt Femme. From the start, vocaloid layering combine with synth step-ups on “No One Dies From Love” to build anticipation, but each time that the peak comes in view, it’s drawn back. This only serves to entice the listener more, with each denied drop pulling you deeper into the experience. That unreleased energy is a perfect auditory representation of an unfulfilled relationship’s potential. The vocaloid makes a second coming on “2 Die 4” where it dances around with twinkling keys and a beat that will get even your closet’s skeletons shaking it. Addictive and upbeat, the song is over before you realize three minutes have passed. Another song that’s perfect for a raucous club, filled with intoxicated and infatuated people, “Call on Me” accentuates the EDM-esque base of much of Tove Lo’s discography. It’s fun, sensual and energetic.

Most of the album carries that same passion, but two of the songs focus on heavier subjects. There’s a nearly ubiquitous sentiment among millennials and gen-z who feel pressured to conform to previous generational standards of being ideal house-wife’s, mothers, and women. When one strays from the defined parameters of that stencil, then people who are totally unaffected by that decision decide it’s then their time to have a say. In the same way that many people fight for the right to have a choice in whether they do or don’t have children or a “nuclear family,” those same people are fighting for the people who want that—they want everyone to have a choice. “Suburbia” touches on that struggle and the fears surrounding it. [TW: ED] Hitting on another difficult topic, Tove Lo turns her own struggle with an eating disorder into a pop song with a body positive message on “Grapefruit.” She speaks on her body dysmorphia, “what I see is not me,” but she wants to “take back the body [she’s] in,” as is the goal of so many recovering people. Even without this impactful message, the song has great production and skillful development.

“Cute & Cruel,” although good, feels kind of unremarkable compared to other better songs from the record. First Aid Kit’s vocals, while very beautiful, clash because of how clean and piercing they are; they don’t fit with the overall vibe. The chorus of “Attention Whore” was also good, but the song suffers from a similar feature issue. Channel Tres’ overdubs distract in the same way the interjections on Ariana Grande’s “Focus on Me” do. Albeit less intrusive, the clearness of their speaking detracts from the slightly airy, grimy feel of Lo’s vocals. If it had been given the same treatment and the levels take down a notch, then it’d be more enjoyable.

Her vocals are incredible on it, but “True Romance” tugs at the corner of the movie screen, wanting to be unleashed. It feels like it drags because the tracks before it are faster, a fate made worse for “I’m to Blame.” Bridge-work in this song is the highlight, and unfortunately the rest of it feels emptier by comparison. There’s too much chorus repetition and the lyrics aren’t as emotionally evocative as the raw quality of her vocals. This ballad, as well as the follow-up track “Kick In The Head,” feel like they belong to different works and their placement skews the album’s impression. The latter felt lax and undirected, but it’s important to be reminded that a song doesn’t have to be high emotion or deeply passionate to be a great song. Sometimes exactly what you need is a straightforward, blunt message.

“Pineapple Slice” is the perfect song to get your shy friends stuttering and blushing, and personally had that exact effect for the two managed listens. If you have the ability for more listens, it is well worth it. The same can be said for Euphoria-featured “How Long.” The open nature of the chorus gives Tove Lo the opportunity for her ad-libs to soar, and she capitalizes on that space beautifully. It’s dark and twisted, and yet delicately honest about the reality of her ill-fated love. It’s a villain origin story soundtrack and it works well in the context of the whole album. Her unique perspective on music-scapes continue to prove how necessary Tove Lo’s vision is for the current and future pop scene.

Stay up-to-date with Tove Lo: Facebook // Instagram // TikTok // Twitter // Website

Ways to listen to Dirt Femme

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