Tove Lo Releases Dirt Femme Album Through Her New Independent Label, Pretty Swede Records

Tove Lo has just released her fifth studio album but the first through her new independent label, Pretty Swede Records, and we’re here for it. The album is titled Dirt Femme and only features two other artists (First Aid Kit and Channel Tres), allowing Tove Lo to be her most feminine, creative and vulnerable self throughout the 12-track playlist. In an interview with Stereogum, Tove Lo explains her journey writing the album, stating,

“It’s a lot about my relationship, but it’s more about me in my relationship. Who am I now as a queer woman in a straight marriage with, in a way, a very untraditional life — but then in some senses, a very committed, traditional relationship. And I guess me freaking out about my identity, but then also loving wearing a ring and being a wife. I guess I just throw myself around in all those different thought patterns in my life and on the album.”

Though each song does not have an official music video, Tove Lo still has an intriguing YouTube video playlist for each of her tracks on Dirt Femme. Each song has a subtitle and features vague and disparate storylines for her audience, making you question the correlation between video and song. 

Photo Credit: Moni Haworth

The first track of the album is titled, “No One Dies From Love,” a perfect combination of sentimentalism, heartbreak, and electropop that will leave you feeling healed and heard by Tove Lo. Her ability to capture emotion in its simplest form builds a unique connection to her music, especially through themes that aren’t mainstream.

In her next track, Tove Lo gets real by talking through her fears and apprehensions toward having a “Suburbia” future. She begins the song with, “I never wanted babies / I know they’re kinda cute / I never wanted marriage / But here I am with you.” It’s clear that she’s against the traditional avenue of being a wife with children, but as the song progresses, Tove Lo explores the possibilities of such a future. Expressing her doubts about having a baby, Tove Lo says,  

“What if I change my mind and want one / But then I can’t have none / Would you leave me then / What if I don’t want the things I’m supposed to want / What then / But what if I do in the end”

While some women may not resonate with these feelings, there are many that struggle with the same emotional strain–not wanting to introduce their relationship to the hardship of marriage and children is adverse to society’s expectations. Still, love can make you question everything, and that’s what Tove Lo does in “Suburbia.”

Just as it sounds, “2 Die 4” is a covetous rendition of all the things you’d do for the “to die for” person you just met–before you know their flaws, you know their looks, and that’s all you need to fall in lust. Not to mention, “2 Die 4” has the perfect melody for just that.

The next track titled, “True Romance,” instantly sets itself apart from the previous songs on Dirt Femme with a slow and sensual vibe. Tove Lo spotlights her voice by keeping a subtle melody as she sings of nothing getting in the way of her loyalty and the love of a “True Romance.”

To see a full review of the next track’s lyrics and music video, “Grapefruit,” click here. This song includes vulnerable insight to Tove Lo’s previous struggle with body dysmorphia and eating disorders–viewer and listener discretion advised. In a statement released with the “Grapefruit” video, Tove Lo states,

“I’ve tried to write this song for over 10 years. I know I haven’t talked about it a lot in interviews or even in my music which is my most honest place. I guess I had to find the right way to share the feelings and the vicious circle of behavior I was stuck in. I’ve been free from my ED and my body issues for a very long time but they did take up too many of my teenage years. I’m not sure why I wrote this song now. Maybe the 2 years of stillness brought back memories, maybe I needed all this time I’ve been free from it to be able to look back without feeling pain. One of the many feelings I remember is needing to crawl out of my own skin. I felt so trapped in a body I hated. I wanted a video that portrayed that, and Lisette and Toogie knew exactly how to create that with me.  It was honestly really hard putting myself back in that headspace but it was necessary for me. I’m gonna let the song speak for itself now”

Halfway through the tracklist is “Cute Cruel” featuring First Aid Kit, a song about love–but not in the way you’d expect. Rather than professing her love, Tove Lo expresses her definition of it by saying, “Love can be cute and cruel / Love is an animal / Love can be weak and strong / It’s how you break your heart / Love is a feeling / Love is the meaning / Love can forgive a lot / It’s why we go on at all.”

In the second half of the diverse album, Tove Lo progressively gets deeper on the topic of love and romance. “Call On Me” is a sensual and electric track that’s still tasteful and classy in its eclectic perspective, while “Attention Whore” feat. Channel Tres has an entertaining and upbeat harmony. The latter is more about jealousy than being an “attention whore” with the chorus, “I, I mind / When she looks at you in the way you look at me / Why oh why / Do you look at her in the way you look at me.” Despite this, Tove Lo ends the song with, “I’m an attention whore / And I want what I’m asking for,” demanding attention to herself over anyone else.

Tove Lo reveals it all in “Pineapple Slice” by explicitly describing what happens behind closed doors. Try to use your imagination when you think of “pineapple” in relation to eroticism, and that’s exactly what “Pineapple Slice” is about.

The tenth track, “I’m To Blame,” is the complete opposite of “Pineapple Slice” as it focuses on loss of love and being in emotional limbo. As opposed to the other frenetic songs on the tracklist, this is one of the few somber songs of Tove Lo’s album.

The last two songs of the album talk of toxic drive and infidelity, rounding out the album with all of life’s sharp edges. “Kick In The Head” focuses on the ambitious go-getters that sacrifice themselves and their personal life for their dreams, while “How Long” is about an affair of love and the hurt involved with the cross-fire.

The creative genius of Tove Lo is evident with each song on Dirt Femme, as well as her music preceeding the independent label album. Being a co-writer with top artists such as Elle Goulding, Nick Jonas, and Dua Lipa, as well as co-writing songs for huge Y.A. series franchises such as Divergent and Hunger Games, Tove Lo has proven her writing expertise throughout the years and has much to show for it.

To listen to Tove Lo’s full Dirt Femme album, click here or listen through Spotify below!

Angela is a graduate of the University of Akron with her Bachelor’s in English. For more articles by this author, click on “Angela Graczyk” above. To contact Angela about freelance opportunities, visit LinkedIn.com/in/angela-graczyk-writer-and-editor.
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Angela is a graduate of the University of Akron with her Bachelor’s in English. For more articles by this author, click on “Angela Graczyk” above. To contact Angela about freelance opportunities, visit LinkedIn.com/in/angela-graczyk-writer-and-editor.

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