Review: Tove Lo – ‘Not On Drugs’

Tove Lo(Universal)

Swedish pop is the best kind of music, isn’t it? Obviously there’s Robyn, connoisseur of sad disco and Loreen, whose dance music is perhaps best suited to a rave in the wilderness. Add to that the likes of Icona Pop, Say Lou Lou and Agnes and there really is no contest (Melodifestivalen – the Eurovision song selection – aside)

Sweden’s next great pop hope is Tove Lo, whose new song ‘Not On Drugs’ premiered earlier on Swedish radio.

The song starts firmly in Lana Del Rey territory: downbeat and melancholic. Don’t be mistaken though: this is an intelligent love song.

Then the chorus happens.

Tove Lo’s ‘thing’ is the barnstorming chorus. The chorus on last years ‘Habits’ could raise the dead (note the great use of the word ‘twinkie’ in the verse). She came in even harder  (like a wrecking ball?) on ‘Out Of Mind’. Her hardest hit though is on ‘Not On Drugs’, with a chorus infectious enough to get even the most casual fan bopping.

In many ways this and ‘Habits’ are a two-part ‘experience’. The former talks about being so in love that you feel high, the latter is about using drugs to get over someone. Is this lazy song-writing? Perhaps, but if it isn’t broke…

The production is very good too. It starts of subdued before climbing over the trenches onto an electronic minefield. But then a woman who has worked with Max Martin and Xenomania isn’t going to release a badly produced song, let’s be completely honest.

‘Not On Drugs’ isn’t flaw free, however. The vocals have lost some of the dirt that was present on the (now removed) demo, which sounds like she was actually high on love. She dubs her music ‘dirrrrty POP!’, and she has scrubbed a bit too hard here.

Having said all that, what an incredible song. Let’s imagine for a moment being Tove Lo and knowing that you have this song in your repertoire. Does she pat herself on the back every night? She should do.

‘Not On Drugs’ is taken from her EP ‘Truth Serum’, which is out March 3 (AKA MONDAY).

(You would be able to listen to it but it’s been removed from Soundcloud ‘lol’)

EDIT: here’s it is:


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