Ever since her debut album in 2014, “Queen of the Clouds,” Tove Lo’s consistency as an artist and a writer has been baffling — no song she’s put out can justifiably be deemed as “bad.” Starting with the dark and explosive singles “Habits (Stay High)” and “Talking Body” that put her on the map, to the vibrant, melody-drenched “Sunshine Kitty” in 2019, it’s hard to pick out a misstep in the Swede’s catalog (which can’t be said for other artists bigger than her). It’s not surprising, then, that “No One Dies From Love,” her newest single, is solidly perfect as well.
For the most part, Tove Lo songs can be placed into one of three categories: a) horny, b) sad or c), horny and sad. “No One Dies From Love” slots into the “sad” category, as its emotional chorus (“No one dies from love / Guess I’ll be the first / Will you remember us? / Or are the memories too stained with blood now?”) paints a picture of heartbreak at its purest. However, Lo is an expert in taking a sad song and splashing a club-ready beat onto it. “What I believe I do best is ‘heartbreak you can dance to,’” she told Rolling Stone. Perhaps it’s a Swedish thing; ABBA based the second half of their career on this premise (“If It Wasn’t For The Nights,” “Lay All Your Love On Me”), and Robyn took this idea and sprinted into the 2010s with it (“Dancing On My Own,” “Call Your Girlfriend”). Despite these inspirations, Lo still molds this strategy uniquely to her.
The song opens with a propulsive synth-pop beat, similar to her song “How Long,” released earlier this year for the season 2 soundtrack of “Euphoria.” She recalls a previous relationship with the lines “We were so magical, why end this way? / I know you’re furious, yeah, just like me.” She taps into the huge emotions following a breakup, which inspired the song. “When you’re with someone for a long time and it ends all of all sudden, it’s like a part of you has died,” she said. “It escalated so fast / We yelled things we can’t take back,” she laments on the pre-chorus.
By the end of the song, it’s a full-fledged party anthem, with Lo yelling the ad-libs on the chorus. Her intelligence comes into play; she knows using sadness as a propulsive emotion can generate more feelings, but also success in that she’ll have listeners know what she’s talking about. “Heartbreak pays bills,” she said on 2020’s “sadder badder cooler.” “You lose, I win.”
Saving the best for last, we need to talk about its retro-futuristic video. An expert in creating perfect visuals that complement each song (“Cool Girl,” “Really don’t like u,” and “Glad He’s Gone,” which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video), the new single is no different. She unboxes “Annie 3000,” a robot companion that Lo dances, plays tennis and watches movies with. The climax of the video arrives with a glamorous party, where the couple drops everything (Annie literally drops the tray of cocktails she’s serving) and they make out on a table, oblivious to everyone around them. Several more make-out sessions continue in a montage: on the tennis court, on the dancefloor and before a sunset. It’s “Ex Machina” meets the usual sexual tension present in any Tove Lo video, and a glorious culmination of what can happen when an artist is given full rein over their creative side.
Tove Lo’s consistency is impressive considering her eight-year career. She writes about heartbreak and love in a way that’s accessible to anyone, and once you’ve gotten over it, it’s time to dance. Based on “No One Dies From Love,” her upcoming record is likely to fit perfectly into her already solid discography.