It’s been three years since the world was officially introduced to Tove Lo (and the cloud of glitter that surrounds her) through her exhilarating, badass hits “Habits (Stay High)” and “Not on Drugs.” Lo, born Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson in Sweden, is a fast-talking, giggling songstress who combines a whimsical stage presence with blunt lyrics—mostly about love, drugs and sex. When I talk to her, she candidly admits to growing up as a privileged white girl from Sweden who got into trouble simply because she looked for it—which is the first of many moments in our conversation that I feel truly bonded with Lo. Little did I know I would relate even more to the Queen of the Clouds and the narrative behind her new album, Blue Lips.
“There’s that feeling of never being satisfied,” Lo explains. “Always needing something to feed my adrenaline rush, but the more you get, the more you need.” This insatiable feeling led to Blue Lips, her equally cheeky follow-up to last year’s hugely successful Lady Wood. “That’s the bigger metaphor but it’s also a fun way to say ‘blue balls,’ like when you don’t reach sexual satisfaction,” she says with infectious laughter.
The album’s lead single, “Disco Tits,” touches on her new relationship status and was released with a video featuring a puppet as Lo’s love interest. “It’s genius, funny and weird but still maintains a deeper message of being in control and losing control while in a relationship,” Lo says of the sexually explicit video. Lo reveals that she, for the first time in her life, is in a relationship with someone with whom she can see a future.
The tattooed wild child (actually, she’s 29) has been celebrated for her sassy sex appeal and feminist ideals (the same qualities that make her my personal hero) but on Blue Lips, a more mature voice emerges. “Lady Wood had one soundscape and every song was connected to the next,” she says. “Blue Lips is a dramatic curve from the brightest, most naïve days of love to the pitch-black moments.” With two chapters, “Light Beam” and “Pitch Black,” Blue Lips will serve as the wiser, older sister to Lady Wood. “There was anger and a refusal to take responsibility on my last album. This is me accepting that I have faults,” Lo says of her new narrative.
A notoriously spontaneous performer, Lo invites listeners to join her on an emotional journey during live shows, no matter what the circumstances. “Even if it’s a Monday night, I want people to let go and feel whatever you need to feel. If you’re having the best night of your life and dancing, or if you just have to cry—if you wake up covered in glitter, you’re good,” she decides.
On Blue Lips, the rawness of songs like “Cycles” matched by the shimmer of “Disco Tits,” present Tove Lo in an unapologetically honest light, the perfect soundtrack for a glittery Monday night of raving or romance—or both.
Photo credit: Emma Holley