I have been a fan of Tove Lo for a long time, I liked all her original stuff so I was very excited when I got the chance to watch a VISUAL ALBUM of hers!! This is only part one which leaves the story open to continue, ready for part 2.
The video starts with her laughing hysterically then crying, suggesting she is on drugs and highlighting her battle between herself.
The Fairy Dust intro starts followed by the words ‘there is nothing pure about the way we do things’ which seems to be the album’s tagline. It may represent the partying, messed-up lifestyle that the characters are in. The two girls seem to be in a close friendship or relationship, one being the wild one and the other is bitter about many different things. It is all set in the city and a motel, giving it a sinister undertone which comes to the forefront in many of the individual song videos.
Influence ft Whiz Khalia –The chorus and verses in this song seem completely unattached and don’t link very well for me. This song is about being drunk or high she acts differently to what she is normally like, not very ground-breaking lyrics about being drunk or high but it fits well with the story and the visual album. The video for this song is strange, with a lot of mouth and finger action. But it lays out the relationship these two have, the girl with short brown hair seems to be in charge and rules over Tove Lo, who is the weaker, drunk/high person. BUT, Whiz Khalifas’ bit is absolutely terrible, he adds nothing to the song but a babbling mess.
The voice over speaks of a relationship breaking down. Whether this be with a person or drugs is to be debated. She feels so low that she is, ‘falling back into [her] dark hole and never felt so safe’, there is suggestion as to a mental health issue, she mentions anxiety, and I think this section illustrates a mental illness very well; with anger, resentment and an attitude that doesn’t care if you slip back into depressive states.
Lady Wood – This is a very classic Tove Lo song. Nothing too exciting, the backing music is very samey throughout but I kind of like this song, it would be easy to sing along and dance to. Tove Lo has used the same tone of voice she always does, she doesn’t seem to have experimented much with this song but seems to stick with what she knows people like, which is fair enough but not going to make a statement. In the visual album she is in a club, illustrating the use of drugs and alcohol which is a prominent theme throughout. A dance routine is introduced more than the last song but each individual song seems to have a simple, easy, repetitive dance to it. This song seems to illustrate the couple arguing, making up and the love and hate within each relationship.
The couple are then in the car and we begin to see the manipulative side of the girl with dark hair again. This dialogue seems to suggest a friendship with subtle hints to them being together. We again see the traits of a mental illness with the lack of care as to whether they die, more so in the dark haired girl, who then tries to kill them both.
True Disaster – This is one of my favorite songs on the album and the video is just as good. After the accident we see the dark haired girl pouring petrol onto the car wreckage, I think this represent her being a crazy, volatile person who destroys the relationship and wants to destroy Tove Lo as the person she is. This is when Tove Lo begins to learn that this relationship is dangerous and the girl is manipulating and controlling her. There is a small, repetitive dance to this song too which, along with the lyrics, suggests that Tove Lo is trapped in this toxic relationship. The end of this song is really well illustrated with everywhere she turns there is her girlfriend and the car wreckage. This highlights how she can’t escape her no matter where she tries to run. She refers to the girl as her ‘true disaster’ she knows it is dangerous but she cannot escape.
Cool Girl – One interpretation of this video could be that she is singing about a lover who just doesn’t care and is the kind of person who will sleep with you but not want anymore (referring to the previous songs, it would be the girl who manipulates and treats her terribly) . The girl lying in the coffin could again represent that she is controlled and trapped by the girl on top. Tove Lo suggests that their relationship is completely sexual with her provocative dancing on the car but we can assume that she cannot get away from it.
BUT, she shaves her own hair at the start which confuses things. Perhaps she is suggesting that she is the controlling, cold-hearted one, or at least she has that personality, she is, ‘ice-cold’ and ‘rolls her eyes’ at anyone that may initiate a relationship or anything more than sexual with her. This is especially true when you see that is in fact Tove, but with a shaved head who is sitting on top of the coffin.
Another way to interpret this, and probably because I relate everything to mental health, is that she is showing the two sides of her personality either as bi-polar or more subtly with the struggles she goes through. She shaves her head at the beginning after a series of images showing going out, drinking and smoking. Shaving your head is often associated with a stressful event, not always, but in this video I think it is meant to show that she has reached the end of her stress and now wants her life to end. After she sings ‘we can burn together’ she sets the room on fire that she is in and sits there waiting to be burnt to death.
This could show that she wants to feel the pain of burning alive to reach the eternal pleasure of an afterlife. I think the coffin shows how she is trapped by her illness (which is represented as her with a shaved head) and towards the end she just wants to ‘be free’ and she feels this could only be by death.
Tove Lo essentially kills her female lover by putting her in a coffin in the ground then seems to gain a male lover.
Vibes – There is suggestion of drug abuse again in this song and the video suggests a very sexual relationship with her new male over. She acts out similar dance moves with the male as she did with her former female lover which suggests that Tove Lo is the dominant person, the fact they are in the same motel room also shows how she can’t let go of her past and is tortured by it. This song is slightly different to the others with a soft acoustic guitar during the verses.
The voice over after ‘Vibes’ is a very strong indicator that she has mental health issues and she starts to realise that perhaps she does have some problems. The credits are very controversial showing her touch herself for the whole song, it actually got this video removed from YouTube because of so many complaints! However, although it is weird to watch that, it is not the weirdest thing that happens in the final song. Right at the end, we see the female lover standing in the corner of the room watching her! This leaves so many questions – Is she dead or alive? Was she watching Tove Lo with the male? Is that why she is bitter at the start?
I enjoyed the concepts within this visual album as it is quite confusing and open to several different interpretations. Let me know what you think below. 🙂