Tove Styrke - Sway
I've been onto Tove Styrke for awhile now. I've previously written about seeing her first Los Angeles show and then watching her bloom from a pretty standard pop act into something much much more. Her first record felt a bit generic, ticking all the pop boxes that a TV game show winner needed to but not pushing any kind of envelopes. Here on this new half EP half LP Sway she corrects that course. Those first tracks came out in 2009 when the Swedish singer was only 17, and now at 25 she has found new footing in her music. Many of these tracks have been previously released as singles, but together they seem to bang even harder. "Say My Name" has this truly infectious guitar line that is played throughout it giving the song a real gritty vibe. So much hip hop delivery is infused in her style, but she never crosses that line of actually trying to rap. That's the thing that really sets this record apart, it feels so incredibly modern without trying to imitate what is hot. It's like the auto tune she uses on "Changed My Mind", it really shouldn't work and should come across as annoying and robotic, but she makes it absolutely sail. There are other times however like on "I Lied" where it feels like she has used the robot voice a bit too much. "On a Level" is a new stellar track that perfectly captures Her vibe. The record is a tab short at just eight tracks, including one demo at the end, but it feels like just enough, more of this somewhat sweet pop might take you just a bit too far. The pace allows Sway sail by never feeling stale or bogged down.
Northern Europe has really been doing some damage in the pop world with acts like Anna of the North, Tove Lo and Tove Styrke. All three but especially Tove Styrke really make a strong choice in switching up their vocal delivery by using effects and different styles. It makes for a more diverse record than if you just have one pop star singing pop songs for 40 minutes. It is certainly really nice to have an album like this be so bright and airy, but also lyrically carry some real weight. Styrke is really trying to convey some deep emotional connections and put them on a really colorful display. It's a vivid picture of discovering what it means to react to a touch or desire someone you know is wrong for you. It's those stages in life that we all go through, but Tove Styrke has managed to put them into this really new picture. Sway is just the beginning, again, for Tove Styrke fresh off a tour opening for Lorde and about to embark on another opening for Katy Perry it seems like this Swedish Fish will not be stopped. Give this thing a listen and open your mind to a whole new world of what pop can, and should, be.
8.1 out of 10