Review: Tove Lo's Album, "Lady Wood"

Updated on November 4, 2016
Samson Pharaoh profile image

Reviews are a pain-free way of combining writing, with what I love (music for eg.), in a way that generates interest.

Tove Lo's "Lady Wood" Album

Swedish singer/songwriter Tove Lo spends a large portion of her second album ‘Lady Wood’ trying to poke holes in any cookie-cutter, pop princess-type expectations listeners may have. (Although it could be argued that the album’s suggestive cover artwork - and title - does that straight away.)

Slow-burning pop number ‘Flashes’ boasts a selection of swears inside it’s singalong hook. The track ’WTF Love Is’ ends when the songstress drops a random F-bomb in a vox pop of drunken rage. The album’s title track has the 28-year-old confessing that people’s imperfections stimulate her and give her “lady wood”. Because these pointed demonstrations of personality take place over music that’s generally genial, they can feel needless and out of place. They don’t get in the way of the music - but they could.

The Album's Supernatural Aura

The subversive tendencies within Tove Lo’s nature are more effectively communicated via the album’s overruling ethereal, mystic, supernatural aura. This aura is showcased indulgently on the LP’s minute-long interludes, which also serve to divide the album into its two parts, ‘Fairy Dust’ and ‘Fire Fade’.

The two interludes merge stray, over-processed, un-arranged vocal samples with warm pads and mysterious harmonies. The LP’s shadowy atmosphere can be found loitering in the background of every song on the album. It fuses the tracklisting together, which is why it’s so effective. It’s not a ton of fun, but it is extremely distinctive and alluring. It provides ‘Lady Wood’ with an alt-pop darkness that’s wide-scope and dramatic, but not overplayed. It doesn’t sound stressed or heavy. This aura doesn’t go alien, yet it often looks to another world.

Photo: John Lamperski
Photo: John Lamperski

'Lady Wood' Is Ruled By A Quiet-Storm Pop Momentum

The songs on ‘Lady Wood’ aren’t all game-changers, however, together they sound interrelated and very much like a collection. Every tune on ‘Lady Wood’ succeeds at creating some sort of quiet-storm type, pop momentum. Along with its memorable bassline Tove Lo’s unhurried, heart-of-glass disposition really enhances lead single ‘Cool Girl’.

Because the song slickly repackages the album’s vibe in a way that’s immediate, listeners who like ‘Cool Girl’ should be pleased with the rest of ‘Lady Wood’. Preceding the Eighties-doused ‘True Disaster’, rapper Wiz Khalifa guests on ‘Influence’. His contribution admittedly interrupts the LP’s flow and feels obligatory. However, he does bring an onslaught of lightning-quick rap lyrics to the table. On the LP's title track, Tove Lo loyally stands by her outsider companions, regardless of what other people say about their quirks. The uptempo effort ends in a provoking collage of lurking, indistinct and sinister extra-terrestrial sounds.

Photo: Johan Avedal
Photo: Johan Avedal

'Vibes' Flickers With Eerie Production Tricks

Served with enticingly eerie production tricks, there’s something primal about the instrumental of ‘Vibes’, which is anchored by distorted, high-pitched vocals on its hooks. Featuring London-based musician and recent Britney Spears collaborator Joe Janiak, ‘Vibes’ kicks-off with acoustic guitar accompaniment, but soon transforms into a moody electro mash-up. Calling out those motivated by superficial things, ‘Don’t Talk About It’ is a highlight. Revolving around a deep, tuneful and warped guitar loop, the song’s production evolves attractively as it plays out.

Tove Lo's 'Imaginary Friend'

Hating the effect a lover is having on her mindset, the lyrics of ‘Keep It Simple’ break down Tove Lo’s current in-relationship turbulence. ‘Keep It Simple’ really catches fire when the cut's disco-lite beat combines with its throbbing synths. Disillusioned with reality, Tove Lo spends the duration of ‘Imaginary Friend’ begging her own to stay around a little longer.

Towards the uniquely-themed song’s finish, the Swede takes the time to explain that nowadays her imaginary friend manifests as a reassuring inner voice. While ‘Flashes’ deals with the singer/songwriter’s struggles with fame, ’WTF Love Is’ swells with an intimate, hot-blooded undercurrent. Over a tempered dancefloor beat, Tove Lo sings seductively on the tune's verses, before becoming more direct - and irritated - on its upfront choruses.

Verdict: ******* 7/10


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)