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  • Writer's pictureBradley Gambosi

Tove Lo’s Independent Masterpiece: “Dirt Femme”

“Dirt Femme” - Tove Lo (2022)

To most people, Tove Lo may be an artist who fizzled out into oblivion after her mega pop hits; “Habits (Stay High)” and “Talking Bodies” were seemingly unavoidable. However, they’d be wrong because she’s been releasing pop perfection for years since, and her latest project, “Dirt Femme,” is potentially her greatest yet.

Dirt Femme marks the fifth studio album from Tove Lo, but is the first she has released independently, giving her full creative control through her newly founded record label, Pretty Swede Records. Being released independently without the influence of major record labels and money-hungry music executives, Dirt Femme is Tove Lo’s most authentic.

This new found independence can be heard all throughout the latest album. Tove Lo embraces countless topics and issues she has never covered before. She doesn’t have to focus on making songs that will go viral on social media, worry about profitability of the album, nor radio friendly singles; with full creative control she is able to tell an intricate story on this album.

Her inner most beliefs on femininity and her own sexuality as a pansexual woman, are front and center, and shown through the experience of her marriage; the album explores the majority of its topics from the eyes of love. She takes listeners on a journey through questioning motherhood & marriage, eating disorders and confessing her undeniable love.

Tove Lo perfectly describes the album as, “[it] will probably upset some of you, will make you want to dance, cry, f*ck, and drive your care really, really, fast.”

Tracks such as “True Romance” and “2 Die 4” are great examples of creative risks that Tove Lo is now able to take, and they prove to completely pay off for her. Whilst foundationally Dirt Femme is an electronic and dance-pop record, most of its songs might just leave you crying on the dancefloor covered in glitter.

One of the highlights of the album is the single, “Grapefruit,” which marks the first time she has openly talked about her prior eating disorders that impacted her life. “Counting while I run the tap, I’m on my knees / Choking on my hands all night in my sleep / Counting all the calories, now get ’em up / Body positivity, help me out,” she recounts her trauma.

It’s an important song for an artist who has become known for flashing festival audiences and being nude; to be so vulnerable, to share her experiences before her current level of body confidence and prior struggles.

Another unique perspective from Tove Lo is on “Suburbia,” which is her perspective on domestic marriage — she herself got married in 2020. Her femininity is rough and dirty, and those things don’t just disappear once a man puts a ring on her finger.

She closes the album with the cinematic, thumping “How Long,” which listeners first had the chance to hear premiere on an episode of HBO’s hit series, “Euphoria,” earlier this year. “You give, you give me empty promises of love /You’re an honest man when you’re drunk /Wish I never asked ya, but it’s killin’ me to wonder /How long? How long? /How, how long have you loved another /While I’m dreamin’ of us together?” It’s a song about holding onto love after infidelity, or maybe just being in denial that the love existed in the first place.

Typically in my reviews I have some tracks that, of course, I personally don’t enjoy; however, I enjoyed each and every track on Dirt Femme. Throughout the entire album Tove Lo showcases to her peers, how to artistically usher between emotional and dance-pop music from song to song.

Dirt Femme is a roller coaster ride of twist and turns from one track to the next. It’s bumping synths will have you yearning for the dancefloor, whilst just a track later you could be shedding tears, to idealizing romance itself whether you have it or not. Its not only the best album from Tove Lo yet, but one of the best pop albums of the year.

Rating: ★★★★★

Maybe you’ll dance, maybe you’ll cry — but do yourself a favor and listen to Dirt Femme.


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