Tove Lo

Sunshine Kitty

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AllMusic Review by

After the darkness and uncertainty of the Lady Wood and BLUE LIPS years -- which included vocal cord surgery and romantic turmoil -- Tove Lo brings her music into the light with Sunshine Kitty. As with her other releases, its title is significant. Not only does Sunshine Kitty signify Lo's move to Los Angeles, it reflects a more lighthearted take on the pussy power she defined on her earlier work. As far back as "Habits (Stay High)," there's been a mischievous, even cute side to Lo's uncensored brand of pop, and it's a refreshing change of pace to hear her lean into it on Sunshine Kitty. She's rarely sounded happier than she does on "Glad He's Gone," where she bids adieu to a friend's unworthy ex-boyfriend with a lilting earworm of a chorus and a NSFW checklist of the things women do -- and don't do -- to stay in a relationship. The album's extroverted vibe extends to collaborations that build on the potential of BLUE LIPS' "bitches." Chief among them are "Really Don't Like U," a blunt yet breezy duet with Kylie Minogue that explores the awkwardness of seeing an ex with a new person, and "Bad As the Boys," where Lo and ALMA trade verses about a girlfriend who's just as untrustworthy as a guy. On the rest of Sunshine Kitty, Lo throws light on familiar subjects in different ways. For perhaps the first time on one of her albums, love and sex sound like fun instead of an invitation to heartache. Not coincidentally, the forbidden fruit of "Are U Gonna Tell Her?" or "Jacques," the deep house-tinged tale of a one-night fling with a French lover, are two of the most danceable tracks here. Of course, it wouldn't be a Tove Lo album without some shadowy contemplation, but even Sunshine Kitty's moodiest songs are more hopeful than some of her previous work: on "Stay Over" and the excellent "Mistaken," she's vulnerable because there's a chance for a real connection with someone. Lo also takes the opportunity to play with her sound as much as her mood. Ear-catching production touches like the slinky acoustic guitars that wind through "Shifted" and the distorted pianos on "Come Undone" add to the feeling she's finding new ways to be herself on the album. As Lo puts her stamp on all of Sunshine Kitty's different sounds and emotions, there's a breeziness that hasn't been present in her music since Queen of the Clouds.

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