Arts & Life, Music

Tove Lo’s newest album, ‘Sunshine Kitty,’ is a gloomy hit

Sweden’s darkest pop artist Tove Lo returns to the music realm with her fourth studio album, “Sunshine Kitty.”

“Sunshine Kitty” mimics Tove Lo’s past discography which incorporates her signature blend of dance-pop and alternative styles, but with a grunge spin.

Tove Lo is known for her candid, outspoken lyrics and grunge-inspired sound that includes heavy drum beats paired with her tranquil manner of singing. Her grunge influence is most showcased sonically in the instrumental background of “Bad as the Boys (feat. ALMA).” It shines through her entire album in her honest, emotional lyrics typical of grunge artists like Nirvana, one of Tove Lo’s musical idols. 

The album opens with a short, 46-second introductory song titled “Gritty Pretty – Intro” that is mainly instrumental combined with audio from a phone message with a man speaking in Italian, referring to himself as Mateo. This connects to another song in “Sunshine Kitty,” titled “Mateo,” in which Tove Lo expresses her feelings for Mateo, who is seemingly unattainable.

After the short intro, the album kicks off with the upbeat track “Glad He’s Gone,” which puts a positive twist on her friend’s breakup and encourages honesty in relationships. This track jump-starts the album’s theme of juxtaposing dark, bold lyrics like “You’re better off/I’m glad that he’s gone,” with an energetic sound. 

Tove Lo’s breakthrough came from the release of “Habits (Stay High)” on her debut EP “Truth Serum,” which encapsulates this dichotomy of dark lyrics with lively musical tone most recognizably. Her autobiographical lyrics, including discussion of substance abuse and casual sex, are paired with an electronic, indie-pop style.

“Sunshine Kitty” embodies Tove Lo’s unique style that combines a sound similar to Sia’s with a raspy voice that is reminiscent of Miley Cyrus. Her Sia-esque sound of synth-pop tied with bouncy rhythms and introspective verses is especially prevalent in “Equally Lost (feat. Doja Cat),” and “Sweettalk my Heart” with its dance-pop undertones. 

Songs like “Are U gonna tell her? (feat. MC Zaac)” and “Really don’t like u (feat. Kylie Minogue)” are suggestive of fashion runway music with their heavily repetitive electronic tones. 

In her song “Mistaken,” Tove Lo admits “I think you liked the way she kissed you better” and “ I can tell myself it doesn’t matter, but it’s hitting my heart,” which showcases her feelings of self-doubt and deeper relationship troubles. Listeners are able to understand the emotion within Tove Lo’s songs and relate the lyrics to their own anxieties.  

“Shifted,” on the other hand, is a confident track in which Tove Lo decides to stop investing her effort and attention in a relationship with someone who isn’t reciprocating her feelings. 

Her best tracks are “Shifted” and “Equally Lost (feat. Doja Cat)” because these have the most interesting sounds mixed with lyrics that draw listeners in. 

“Sunshine Kitty” shows Tove Lo’s artistic development as she shifted from depressing subject matters and self-damaging behaviors mentioned in previous albums to a more bold and assuring collection of songs that demonstrate personal growth and confidence. 

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