Tove Ebba Elsa Nilsson, also known as Tove Lo, is a rising star from Sweden. It appears that country is pumping out popular acts lately with the likes of Icona Pop, Nico & Vinz, and Lykke Li.
Her blend of dark pop and electronic music makes for an excellent blend and one of the most perfectly crafted albums of 2014.
As soon as you hear “uh uh” on the radio you automatically know what the song is. “Habits (Stay High)” is huge right now and completely inescapable. It’s blasting out car radios, in the store, and even remixes of it in the bars and clubs.
When you dance to it in a sultry way or shout the main chorus do you even know what the song is about?
I mean it’s not really deep, but it’s not about “being high” in a smoking a certain substance kind of way. It’s actually about her trying to get a high off of hedonistic acts and drinking to numb the pain. From whatever breakup she went through.
She doesn’t have a filter on her which gives the music a better connection to the audience who might have gone through what she did and doesn’t need sugarcoating. I’ve been told I am the problem / and the problem is my honesty / when it’s worst than how it seems / and I tell you all the wrong things.
Those lyrics from “The Way That I Am” really elucidates her debut album Queen of the Clouds which was released September 30th.
The album has so far peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200 albums chart to positive reviews. There appears to be three sections to the album because of the three interludes. It begins with an interlude called “The Sex”, and following that are the songs “My Gun”, “Like Em Young”, “Talking Body”, and “Timebomb.”
They describe the rise of her relationship and a reckless side to her that knows no boundaries. Especially on “Like Em Young” where to her age is just a number and she’s willing to sleep wherever to get that feeling of euphoric mindlessness.
“The Love” interlude follows with songs called “Moments”, “The Way That I Am”, “Got Love”, and “Not on Drugs.”
This set allows her to express how she doesn’t give a you know what about her personality and ways of doing things, as heard in her song “Moments.”
“Rough around the edges, memories and baggage / you know me / never play the safe card, when I go I go hard / and now you know.”
Her song “Not on Drugs” conveys part of her relationship when the breakup was actually happening. It feels like she’s trying to tell him that sure she made mistakes in the past and likes to mess around, but that he’s her only drug.
However, in recent interviews she has made it well known of her dark past of experimenting with drugs.
The song is likely to become her next hit especially since a video was made for it. “Baby, listen please I’m not on drugs, I’m not on drugs / I’m just in love / baby, don’t you see? I’m not on drugs, I’m not on drugs / I’m just in love, you’re high enough for me.”
The last interlude “The Pain” features her hit song and other ones that express her distress of losing someone and wanting to be with them.
It’s best expressed in “Thousand Miles” with lyrics like, “Coming for you baby, I’m coming now / that’s when I run / all of these thousand miles to get you back.”
Tove Lo isn’t going to be a one hit wonder. There are many fantastic songs on this album that have mainstream and alternative hit potential.
Although “Habits (Stay High)” has reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, she’s featured on EDM rising star Alesso’s track “Heroes (We Could Be).”
The song has so far peaked at #72 on the Hot 100 and #27 on US Mainstream Top 40. Her package of “grunge pop” is certainly sticking around as it is a major trend this year with such artists like Lorde and Sia.
For now Tove Lo is likely to “stay high” on the charts for the remainder of the year.