We’ve reached a point at which the once-hyperbolic term overnight success is literal. Catchy songs and videos find huge audiences instantly but quickly lose their adhesive; stars burn ultra-bright and ultra-fast. But we’re also in an era of quiet, slowly spreading hits—polished, anonymous-seeming pop songs that percolate and achieve ubiquity over many months.
Swedish singer/songwriter Tove Lo followed her hit single "Habits (Stay High)" -- a disarmingly vulnerable recounting of all the shocking things she does to numb a painful breakup -- with Queen of the Clouds, a debut album that falls somewhere between Icona Pop's sugar rush hedonism and Sia's moody confessions. A good friend of Icona Pop's Caroline Hjelt (and co-writer of the group's "Ready for the Weekend"), like Sia, Tove originally thought she'd have a better chance at a pop career by penning songs for others than in the spotlight herself. However, her songwriting background ensures that Queen of the Clouds has plenty of hooks, as well as a high-concept approach: she organizes pop's eternal concerns of lust, love, and heartbreak into a set of songs that breaks the span of an entire relationship into thirds.
Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo, who has been riding the wave of her self-medicating pop provocation “Habits,” follows that breakout hit with this seemingly autobiographical, highly addictive debut. The effervescent electro-pop set is divided into three self explanatory sections: “The Sex,” “The Love,” and “The Pain.” The pleasures here remain on the surface, as there’s little mystery in the 26-year-old’s exploration of her primal emotions. The lyrical immediacy of the words serves her best when dealing with passion and hurt, but when she tries to excavate the mysteries of love, complexity eludes her.