- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tove Lo, “Lady Wood” (Island Records)

Pop singer Tove Lo warns us at the very top of her strong sophomore album that maybe we shouldn’t always believe her. “You know I’m under the influence/So don’t trust every word I say,” she sings.

And, after that warning, we’re off on a deliciously murky trip into dark club music led by a Swede who clearly likes to get high, be real and swear effortlessly. “Lady Wood” is as close to a punk EDM album as possible.

Lo has been making a name for herself for her chill synth pop and honest lyrics. Her 2014 debut, “Queen of the Clouds,” gave us the hits “Habits (Stay High)” and “Talking Body.” She also gained attention as the co-writer of Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” earning herself Grammy and Golden Globe nominations.

Her new CD, which she co-wrote, is broken into two, five-track songs that start at the party and end in a hangover.

The album kicks off with the Britney Spears-sounding “Influence,” which gets a welcome assist from Wiz Khalifa, and then it’s all about glow sticks and doomed hookups, including the title song that embraces her libido and the hypnotic “Cool Girl.”

The crash comes with the last five songs, all more mature and weary. Being high hasn’t necessarily made Lo any happier - and reality is worse. “Know you’re loving the highs you get in between the lines of a life you don’t need,” she sings on “Don’t Talk About It.”

The album might be the worst advertisement ever for drugs, but it’s the best for a singer we have to watch.

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Mark Kennedy is at https://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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