Tove Lo takes the power back with ‘Sunshine Kitty’.

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Island Records

The cover of Tove Lo’s fourth studio album, ‘Sunshine Kitty’.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo is known for her honest lyrics and carefree attitude.

After independently releasing her debut single, “Love Ballad”, in November 2012, her second single, “Habits”, earned her a small following online and resulted in Universal Music signing her in mid-2013. 

Her debut major-label single, “Out of Mind”, was released in October 2013, and she gained international attention when she re-released “Habits” as “Habits (Stay High)” that December, which topped the charts in over eight countries and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Her debut EP, Truth Serum, dropped in March 2014 followed by her debut album, Queen of the Clouds, in September of that year, which spawned the successful single “Talking Body”, and her iconic second and third albums, Lady Wood and Blue Lips, arrived in October 2016 and November 2017, respectively.

In mid-September, Tove Lo released her highly anticipated fourth studio album, Sunshine Kitty — a stark departure from its darker predecessors that, while still very vulnerable, holds a warmer, happier tone inspired by Lo’s move to California with her partner last summer and features more acoustic production as opposed to the hard, electro pop sound of Lady Wood and Blue Lips

The project also has Latin influences that can be found on tracks like “Are U gonna tell her?” with Brazilian rapper and singer MC Zaac and “Equally Lost” with American rapper and singer Doja Cat.

According to Lo in an interview with BroadwayWorld, Sunshine Kitty is a “new chapter [for her]… marked by a reclamation of confidence, hard-earned wisdom, more time, and a budding romance”, and the title is a reference to the record’s happier sound in addition to female empowerment, which is represented by the cartoon lynx on the cover, who Lo described as “an extension of [herself] and part of the new music”.

Structured like a phone conversation, the lead single, “Glad He’s Gone”, is a message from Lo to a close friend encouraging her to break up with her demanding boyfriend who’s never satisfied. Lo claims that he doesn’t love her as much as she does, hinting at her own feelings toward her, and asserts that she’d be much better off without him.

The music video is an over-the-top action-adventure production in which Lo stays on the phone with her friend no matter what in spite of the absolute chaos that is happening around her to show how dedicated she is to making sure that she’s okay. I think that we could all use a friend like Tove Lo.

“Glad He’s Gone”’s Queer undertones are further explored by the second single, “Bad as the Boys” with Finnish singer-songwriter ALMA, on which Lo, who is openly bisexual, and ALMA, who is openly gay, sing about a summer fling with a woman who broke both of their hearts, accusing her of being “just as bad as the boys”.

Ultimately, love takes center stage on Sunshine Kitty, especially on tracks like the fifth single, “Sweettalk my Heart” — a desperate plea to be with someone who may or may not be bad for you; the non-single “Stay Over” — a sexy electronic bop about a one night stand; and the fourth single, “Really don’t like u” with Australian singer-songwriter and pop diva Kylie Minogue — a somber song about jealousy that sees Lo and Minogue competing for the attention of a male love interest over a smooth synth beat.

Having gone through all the pain and heartbreak, Tove Lo is stronger than ever, and armed with her newfound confidence and maturity, she’s taken back the power that rightfully belongs to her.

Sunshine Kitty is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

UPDATE: In May 2020, Sunshine Kitty was expanded with eight additional tracks, including the brand new single, “sadder badder cooler”.

Stream Sunshine Kitty on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/48I4Jtcqu5K5jZWadn035d?si=8GgTDPeSTjGBsNc3MeUbOQ

Watch the music video for “Glad He’s Gone”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qanl1s7K2Kc