Hot-bodied and overtly camp
Jordan White
22:48 13th October 2022

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Tove Lo isn’t one to beat around the bush. Her tongue-in-cheek lyricism over the years has earned her a reputable status in pop, and on her fifth album Dirt Femme, she just can’t seem to put a foot wrong.

Femininity has always been present throughout the Swedish singer’s catalogue, her previous albums clearly not hiding that. Now that she’s happily married, Tove is ready to express her vulnerable and empathetic “feminine traits” more freely than ever in her first release on her very own label, Pretty Swede Records.

If we’re talking one of her best songs to date, ‘No One Dies From Love’ latches onto disco dance breaks that wouldn’t sound out of place on the sound system at any of east London’s gay bars… or a sweaty Berlin rave for that matter. This sort of dark, seductive electro-pop has always looked great on Tove and she’s truly at the peak of her game here.

‘Suburbia’ offers a glimpse into a white picket lifestyle for the singer. Whilst she’ll gladly sit in for the family dinner on a Sunday afternoon, don’t for one second think she won’t be at the happy hour with her girls come the evening. Like she says: “You are the love of my life / But I can’t be no Stepford wife.”

The most absurd moment of Dirt Femme has to be ‘2 Die 4’ with its slashing energy and what Tove describes as “instantly iconic” with its nod to Hot Butter’s 1972 single ‘Popcorn’. It’s the first sample she’s used in her career and what a stunner to begin with.

Moments like ‘True Romance’ remind you that Tove isn’t just a dancefloor commander. Referencing the 90s cult classic of the same name, her intensified yearns lace over a sparse soundscape. The rent was due here and those belts just paid a year upfront.

If we can do anything right following the release of Dirt Femme, it’s to prioritise ‘Grapefruit’ becoming Tove Lo’s greatest hit. We’re talking all the trophies. The track pushes body positivity to greater heights as she reflects on teenage trauma with her own eating disorder and how she eventually reaches a place of loving her own body.

Unsurprisingly, the two SG Lewis-penned tracks ‘Call On Me’ and ‘Pineapple Slice’ make up a chunk of the standouts on the record. “I prepared for tonight / Ate a pineapple slice for you,” she sings in anticipation for a steamy oral sex session; her signature songwriting shining through again. The folkier ‘Cute & Cruel’ with First Aid Kit offers a break from the dancefloor, whilst ‘Attention Whore’ with Channel Tres will end up being that song you ditch the line at the bar for as you’ve waited the entire night to scream out “I’m an attention whore / And I want what I’m asking for!”

At its core, Dirt Femme is hot-bodied, overtly camp and doesn’t shy from its playful side. No rulebooks were rewritten here, but none needed to be. Sometimes it’s best to just embrace excellent pop music when you hear it, and Tove Lo already has that formula down.

Dirt Femme is out now

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