Dark Clouds

1 minute read

Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo’s debut single, “Habits (Stay High),” is climbing the Top 20, and with good reason: the song is a hazy paean to postbreakup debauchery that sounds like nothing else on the radio. (Maybe Robyn, if she were addicted to cough syrup.) “Habits” sets the tone for Lo’s timely first album, Queen of the Clouds, which announces her arrival as pop’s messiest, most winsomely addled diva. Assisted by throbbing, gloomy production, she uses her little-girl voice to discordant effect on electro-pop anthems about heartbreak and headaches–the kind that follow a night of reckless partying.

But make no mistake: there’s a razor-like precision to these songs that belies her rough-around-the-edges persona. Lo is an acolyte of superproducer Max Martin, and it shows in her songcraft. The sultry “Talking Body” makes use of a scabrous sing-along hook, while “Moments” works on tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation: “I can get a little drunk … but on good days I am charming as f-ck,” she sings. Best of all is the stampeding “Timebomb,” with a chorus that explodes like a confetti cannon. It’s an unusually heady buzz.

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