Tove Styrke delivers undeniably strong second record
When Tove Styrke made it to the last rounds of the Swedish version of Idols in 2009, she was just 16 years old. After the show, she took some time to create an album she could be proud of. She delivered a set of electro pop songs with a distinct sound. Now, almost five years later, Styrke has a second album ready, called Kiddo. The young pop star sounds feisty and determined and the songs are punchier and full of personality. What more could a person want than an excellently produced album with twelve undeniable choruses?
When I spoke to Tove in an interview for A Bit of Pop Music, she explained she wanted to try as many different sounds as possible within the realm of electronic pop music and so she did. The album opens with the pure electro pop of ‘Ain’t Got No’, with a punchy production and a contagious hook. On ‘Snaren’ Tove explores urban with thick beats over which she raps/sings lyrics with attitude about a guy who needs to step aside if he does not want to get hit. She describes the reggae sound of ‘Borderline’ as her own personal protest song against the patriarch matrix. If you ask me, rolling drums and an insanely catchy chorus should be the new way of protesting for anyone, because it delivers one of the absolute best songs of her career so far.
We hear a laidback reggae vibe on the fun track ‘Brag’ that closes the album as well. Of course there are also some straight forward pop tracks with banging choruses and earworm melodies, like ‘Decay’, ‘Samurai Boy’ and the strong ‘Walking A Line’ with a willful attitude. While Tove is very outspoken with a confident attitude on most of the tracks, she shows her vulnerable side too. The exquisitely produced ‘Who’s Got News’ is the only slower song on the album and this is a welcome change of pace, especially because it is executed so well and fits the overall vibe of the album. On ‘Ego’, she tells a sad story about a person that drifted away from her, because he or she was too caught up in their own ego. These lyrics are however packaged in a light electro production with a cheerful melody. To be able to create such contrasts is one of the best things about pop music, according to Tove herself.
It doesn’t happen very often that every single track on an album is as good as with this one. It is hard to pick favorites, because she keeps the quality top notch throughout. Literally every chorus hits hard and is catchy and memorable. Pop at its finest, right? Every great aspect of this album comes together on ‘Number One’. Infectious poppy chorus? Check! Edgy production? Check! Feisty attitude? Check! To top it all off we get the greatest lyric you can write in pop music: ‘Like Britney Spears, she is fierce!’ In all seriousness, this album is diverse enough to keep the attention, but at te same time feels like a cohesive body of work. Tove sounds great and it is clear that she put all her heart in this work. Definitely one of the best pop albums of the year so far.
Must listen: Ego, Number One, Walking A Line, Borderline, Decay