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Tove Lo | Sunshine Kitty | Album Review

Island Records
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sunshine Kitty, as the title implies, is odd. The album opens with a Chili Pepper’s-like guitar riff and some sampling of Italian dialogue before transitioning into “Glad He’s Gone,” in which Tove Lo tells a friend (that she possibly has a crush on) that her boyfriend is a “bitch.” The track is accompanied by bouncy pop production and Tove Lo’s breezy vocals. 

This juxtaposition is emblematic of the rest of Sunshine Kitty, which combines  Tove Lo’s sweet, earnest vocal delivery and electronic poppy production with comparably dark, moody lyrics. One of the album highlights is “Mateo,” in which Tove Lo pines a former love. The track’s melodic structure showcases Tove Lo’s vocal range in a way many of her other songs haven’t.

Similarly, “Mistaken” is particularly heart-wrenching, with Tove Lo emoting despair because her ex has moved on with someone else, repeating the phrase “maybe I’m mistaken” to show her insecure and unstable state of mind. The pounding synth, which weirdly sounds like the Stranger Things opening theme, gives the track additional drama.

There are a couple exceptions to the overall dark tone. “Jacques,” a 90’s house-inspired track, is a fun track about meeting a French guy in the club. “Really don’t like u” shows that Tove Lo has a sense of humor, as the lyrics are mostly petty complaining about an ex’s new fling. The track also features Kylie Minogue, one of the most under-appreciated pop singers of the last 20 years. “Really don’t like u” sounds like a 90s club throwback, which makes Minogue’s inclusion a great addition to the track.

Unfortunately, Tove Lo is best known in the United States for “Habits (Stay High)” from her 2014 album Queen of the Clouds, which details the singer’s adventures getting wasted and throwing up in her bathtub. The grittiness of the lyrics likely turned many listeners, and major music awards shows, off to Tove Lo a long time ago, which is really a shame.

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