Tove Styrke: Sway
ALBUM REVIEW BY TROY DAVIS
MAY 11, 2018
It’s been a week since Tove Styrke released her much anticipated, much teased new album Sway, and we seriously cannot stop listening here at Honey Punch. It’s an album full of flirty hooks, catchy choruses, and all around good vibes.
Tove stepped up her game on her new release, producing her most creative but polished record in her career. Working with extremely underrated producer Elof Loelv on six of eight tracks helps give the album a sense of consistency, one that makes the album easy to listen to straight through without skipping a track. Multiple listens reveal tiny details that get you excited about Tove’s bold new direction (example: the soda can sound effect that opens up “Sway”).
Title-track and album opener “Sway” is my early pick for song of the summer. It’s a mid-tempo anthem, boldly showing us that Tove is taking control of her romantic encounters. (On a personal note, I think I’m responsible for at least 1,500 of the streams of this song on Spotify.)
Some of Tove’s best moments on the album allow her voice to shine through while seamlessly blending with production effect. “Mistakes” is a great example, where the song’s melody is balanced evenly with a chorus of overlaid, vocodered harmonies that keep the hook moving despite all other instruments dropping out. “Changed My Mind” employs quite the opposite strategy in the bridge, using voice effects on her solo vocals allow an added texture that seems to serve no higher purpose except adding some fun to the track (we love it).
The album, while being built on pop beats, comes off as extremely personal. Even when admitting she’s caught feels on “I Lied”, she does so unapologetically to a sugary-sweet beat reminiscent of Charli XCX. “On the Low” is the album’s quietest song, a hushed plea to not keep a relationship a secret with background shouts to convey her hidden frustrations.
All that said, Tove is also giving some serious #SorryNotSorry vibes. In her closing track “Liability (Demo)”, she gives Lorde’s gut-wrenching ballad a major reworking, turning tear-filled confessions into bitter jabs. Tove’s performance makes it crystal clear: she’s over the drama.
This album is FUN. It’s PERSONAL. It’s RELATABLE. And it’s going to dominate your summer mixes.