Over five years and four records, Tove Lo has made a name out of being the horniest mainstream popstar to grace the airwaves — just look at most of her album titles (Lady Wood and BLUE LIPS are particularly evocative). She has also earned a reputation for providing much bleaker bops than most of her peers. On Sunshine Kitty, yet another play on the singer’s vagina, Lo attempts to deliver a lighter record than its predecessors to varying levels of success; after the near-apocalyptic relationship that preoccupied the content of BLUE LIPS, it’s exciting to hear her sing about a much healthier romance. But that doesn’t mean the record makes any effort to shy away from the sex and destructive habits the singer has always reveled in.
Like all of Lo’s albums, she weaves a narrative throughout Sunshine Kitty to ground the record. Italian intro “Gritty Pretty” introduces our protagonists, Mateo and Uma, just as their relationship crumbles, flowing almost seamlessly into lead single “Glad He’s Gone” as the singer comforts Uma over the breakup. From there, the listener is afforded a bird’s eye view while Uma rebounds (“Stay Over,” “Jacques”) and eventually finds new love (“Come Undone,” “Anywhere u go”). Messier emotions like jealousy and doubt in a partner permeate the rest of the album’s tracks.
Swapping the disco-influenced electro of BLUE LIPS for more tropical and Latin productions, Lo somehow breathes fresh life into the dated sounds on songs like “Sweettalk my Heart” and “Shifted.” Where the record really lags is its collaborations; bisexual anthem “Bad as the Boys” features a by-the-numbers appearance from singer ALMA that the song could do without, “Are U gonna tell her?” is a nothing duet with the Brazilian MC Zaac, and the two-minute “Equally Lost” is barely long enough to fit a whole song into it, much less a verse from singer/rapper Doja Cat. Though most of Lo’s album features have faltered for one reason or another, the Kylie Minogue-assisted “Really don’t like u” and Jax Jones-produced “Jacques” are slices of house heaven, taking Sunshine Kitty to its most intoxicating heights.
Standout tracks: “Glad He’s Gone,” “Stay Over,” “Jacques,” “Mateo”