ACL Review: Tove Lo
Swedish sensation bares all
By Rachel Rascoe,
10:50AM, Sun. Oct. 15, 2017
Boobs as weapon, body as vessel, sexuality as expression; there’s a million ways to interpret dark, raunchy, Swede sensation Tove Lo’s multifaceted pop, where tales of drugs and sex clubs drop into exuberant anthems. Saturday at sunset, the Barton Springs stage’s overstuffed young crowd didn’t overthink it.
Preceded by a giant tapestry of her vagina insignia, framed with a cross and clitoris, the 29-year-old starlet (Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson) launched into “True Disaster” off last year’s sophomore album Lady Wood. The electronically infectious tale of heartbreak accompanied the artist’s immediate tummy-rubbing turned crotch-grabbing moves, midsection exposed in a Sporty Spice ensemble.
The dirty blonde diva’s sincere, perky soprano assured that her oft millennial, slang-infused lyrics were no joke, but rather demanding modern compositions. Phrasing riddled with “fly” and “as fuck” may be ephemeral, but it was exactly what a sing-along ACL audience wanted.
This comes as no surprise considering the singer’s Swedish illuminati status in hit-maker Max Martin’s songwriting collective, Wolf Cousins. Tove Lo’s list of collaborations also stretches up the A-list, with penning credits for Ellie Goulding and Hilary Duff.
2014 smash “Talking Body” elicited a loving visit to the front row, as well as her first teasing, free-the-nipple flash. She prefaced scaled-back “Flashes” with an invitation to “get some feelings out,” while tossing light-up rings to the spanning assemblage.
The radio hitter committed to recent slick single “Disco Tits,” pinching her own on emblematic verse “I’m fully charged, nipples are hard, ready to go!” The finale revisited her international breakout with “Habits (Stay High),” whose last verse found the singer donating her sports bra to a screaming audience.
A few years from now at a sold-out stadium show somewhere, it’s easy to imagine mothers diving to shield their daughters’ eyes from Tove Lo’s topless farewell. If the Zilker crowd’s response is any indication, it doesn’t sound like such a bad pre-teen experience. There was something electrifying in the exposure.