14. Tove Lo, Sunshine Kitty (Universal)
It’s been great fun hearing Tove Lo evolve as an artist over the past decade. The highly conceptual Queen of the Clouds remains a near-classic debut, while Lady Wood and Blue Lips headed into considerably darker territory. The sad aspect of sour relationships, which Tove always showed a great talent for capturing, is still present on the adventurous Sunshine Kitty, but the music she and her collaborators create is a lot sunnier, more eclectic, and a lot more hopeful. There’s still plenty of yearning (“Sweettalk My Heart”, “Stay Over”) but she also offers character sketches of manipulative women (“Are U Gonna Tell Her”), confronting an ex’s new partner (“Really Don’t Like You”), and in a nice turn, protagonists that show a lot of heart (“Glad He’s Gone”, “Bad As the Boys”). Then you get a song like “Jacques”, which is just a straight-ahead deep house banger – as always, Tove excels at these club-oriented tracks – and on the aforementioned “Really Don’t Like You” she teams up with Kylie, the queen herself, for one of the album’s catchiest moments. As always, her lyrical approach is blunt, but thankfully she never relies on banalities, instead observing the odd finer detail that captures your attention. Sunshine Kitty continues Tove Lo’s admirable streak of consistency, but over time it might wind up being one of her best pieces of work.