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Love Ballad (Tove Lo song)

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"Love Ballad"
Artwork for "Love Ballad". A woman with brown hair and wearing fake eyelashes is looking forward. Above her image, the words "Tove Lo" are written with white letters, as well as the words "Love Ballad", which are written with black letters.
Single by Tove Lo
from the album Truth Serum and Queen of the Clouds
Released 5 November 2012 (2012-11-05)
Format Digital download
Genre Pop
Length 3:28
Label Self-released
  • Tove Lo
  • Ludvig Söderberg
  • Jakob Jerlström
Producer(s) The Struts
Tove Lo singles chronology
"Love Ballad"

"Love Ballad"

"Love Ballad" is a song by Swedish recording artist and songwriter Tove Lo. It was co-written by Lo, Ludvig Söderberg and Jakob Jerlström, and was produced by her co-writers under their production name The Struts. In 2012, after signing a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music and co-writing songs for artists including Girls Aloud and Icona Pop, Lo decided to become an independent singer to keep her most personal songs for herself.

She eventually sent her debut single "Love Ballad" to Swedish radio stations on 15 October 2012. It was digitally released on 5 November 2012. The track was later included on Lo's debut extended play Truth Serum and her debut studio album Queen of the Clouds, both of which were released in 2014. "Love Ballad" is a pop song with drum instrumentation; its lyrics detail the protagonist's exaggerated ways to show affection to a romantic partner. Critics described it as an "ode to falling dangerously in love with someone" and a parody of love songs.

The song drew the attention of music blogs and received positive reviews from some critics but failed to chart anywhere. A music video for the song, which was directed by Motellet Film and Lo, was released on 5 October 2012. It shows the singer covered in black paint and performing acrobatics in the middle of a road and on a football field. Lo performed the track several times, including on the Swedish campaign Musikhjälpen and at Notting Hill Arts Club in London, United Kingdom.

Background and release

Tove Lo (pictured) wrote "Love Ballad" after confessing to feeling "lost" when writing songs for others.

After the dissolution of her band Tremblebee, Tove Lo focused on writing songs and she signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music in 2011.[1][2] In the following year, she co-wrote "Something New" for Girls Aloud, and "We Got the World" and "Ready for the Weekend" for Icona Pop.[3] After she signed the publishing deal, she felt "lost" and unsure of her identity. She was also going through a difficult time during a relationship, which led her to write songs that were not related to her life.[4] However, at one point, she "couldn't handle it anymore" and needed to write a personal song.[4] Lo then co-wrote "Love Ballad" with Ludvig Söderberg and Jakob Jerlström; it was their first collaboration.[5] Söderberg and Jerlström also produced the track under their production name The Struts.[6] According to Lo, an artist became interested in recording the song but considered it "too brutal" and wanted to change some of the lyrics. Because of this, Lo kept the song for herself.[4] She said that after co-writing "Love Ballad", she started to write songs "that I felt I needed to get out of me".[4]

Lo eventually self-released "Love Ballad" as her first single. It was sent to Swedish radio station P3 on 15 October 2012.[7] It was digitally released on 5 November 2012.[8] The song drew the attention of music blogs, which led Lo to start a career as an independent singer so she could record her most personal songs.[9][10] "Love Ballad" was later featured on the Swedish edition of Lo's debut extended play Truth Serum (2014) and as a bonus track on the North American version of her debut studio album Queen of the Clouds (2014).[6][11]

Inspiration and composition

"Love Ballad" is an uptempo pop song featuring drum instrumentation.[2][12][13][14] According to Lo, the songs on her extended play Truth Serum are about her "most intense" failed relationship.[15] She stated, "In its entirety, [Truth Serum tells] a love story from beginning to end. The song 'Love Ballad' is about the moment you decide to give everything to another person, while 'Habits' shows what happens when everything is screwed up and you just want to freak out. 'Out of Mind' deals with the stage after that, when your broken heart has mended, but the scars are still there".[16] In an interview with Klap Magazine, Lo said, "'Love Ballad' is actually supposed to be a way of telling the one I love I'd do anything for him. He's worth the pain. A bit exaggerated but that's what it feels like when you're so into someone".[17]

According to Rich Thane of The Line of Best Fit, the track details the "carefree beginnings of a new romance".[18] Michael Cragg of The Guardian described the song as an "ode to falling dangerously in love with someone".[2] Cragg also said the singer is "willing to share her drugs" with her lover in the verse "Jump off a cliff / I'd give you my last spliff / I'd do it for you / Ain't love sweet?".[2] According to Mark Savage of BBC News, the track "parodies the preposterous promises" made by musicians in love songs; he cited the line "Chop off my hands / Chop off my feet / I'd do it for you / Ain't love sweet?" as an example.[15]


"Love Ballad" received positive reviews by some critics. Doron Davidson-Vidavski of The Line of Best Fit called it an "infectious debut single",[1] while a reviewer from Scandipop wrote that the song is "rousingly melodic in both its production and its topline".[12] Michael Cragg of The Guardian said Lo had started her career "in fine style" with the song.[2] A reviewer for Nu Wave Pony described it as a "lyrically obsessive and heart-wrenching pop song" and said that "it plays like a catchy summer song".[19] Richard S. Chang of ranked it at number four on his top 5 of the Best Tove Lo songs.[20] Writing for Discopop, Mark Savage said that "Love Ballad" is superior to "Stay High", the remixed version of "Habits (Stay High)".[21]

Despite the positive reviews and its popularity among music blogs, "Love Ballad" failed to chart anywhere. In an interview with Gulf Times, Lo said she thought the song's poor commercial reception was due to her change of stage name. She stated, "['Love Ballad'] didn't sell particularly well. I'd used my real name, Tove Nilsson, when I was in Tremblebee so perhaps no-one knew who I was".[22]

Music video

A woman covered in black paint and walking upside-down.
Tove Lo covered in black house paint and walking upside-down in the music video for "Love Ballad". The singer stated that she spent more than seven hours covered in paint during the filming of the video.

The music video for "Love Ballad" was co-directed by Tove Lo and Motellet Film.[17] Lo also wrote the video's script;[17] she said: "Imagine sitting on a football field in the dark, freezing, after seven hours, covered only in black house paint, trying to put on fake eyelashes!".[2] MTV Sweden premiered the video on 5 October 2012,[23] and Lo released it on her YouTube channel on 8 October 2012.[24] The video begins with Lo covered in black paint and walking in the middle of a road. In the next scene, she covers four men, who go to play rugby on a football field, in paint. Later, Lo is shown walking upside-down and performing other acrobatics on the road and the football field. Then, she appears wearing a hibiscus dress while singing the song in a rubbish dump. In the next scenes, Lo is walking topless through a field of flowers. Near the end, she is standing on the football field while the four men run up to her and cover her in paint. The video is interspersed with scenes of Lo performing the song with images of cities and explosions projected onto her.[24][25]

Live performances

On 10 December 2012, Lo performed "Love Ballad" and "Paradise" on the Swedish campaign Musikhjälpen.[26] On 10 April 2013, she performed "Love Ballad", "Habits (Stay High)", "Out of Mind" and "Not Made For This World" at Swedish radio station P3.[27] Lo performed "Love Ballad" alongside other songs from Truth Serum and "Run On Love" during her first UK show at Notting Hill Arts Club, London, on 2 April 2014.[28] For the performance, she was accompanied by two drummers.[29] A reviewer from Discopop said he was "blown away" and that it was "so refreshing to be at a pop show that engages the heart as well as the senses".[29] Michael Cragg of The Guardian rated the show with four stars out of five and deemed it as "a punchy UK debut".[30] Lo performed the same set list at her Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen show on 6 May 2014.[31]

On 1 October 2014, Lo performed "Love Ballad" and other songs at Webster Hall in Manhattan, New York City.[32] On 30 March 2015, she held a concert at KOKO in London, UK, and performed the track among others from Truth Serum and Queen of the Clouds.[33] Amelia Maher of London In Stereo wrote, "With the opening bars to 'Over' and 'Love Ballad' there is something different in [Lo's] tone as she carelessly lays her soul bare for all to see and reveals that she isn't just a raunchy one trick pony".[33] On 14 August 2015, Lo performed the song at the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg, Sweden.[34] On 11 September 2015, she held a concert at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Germany, and performed "Love Ballad" and tracks from Truth Serum and Queen of the Clouds.[35]

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Truth Serum.[6]

  • Recorded at Warner/Chappell Studios, Stockholm
  • Mastered at Cutting Room, Stockholm

Release history

Country Date Format Ref.
Sweden 15 October 2012 Mainstream radio [7]
Worldwide 5 November 2012 Digital download [8]


  1. ^ a b Davidson-Vidavski, Doron (21 May 2013). "Tove Lo". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Cragg, Michael (11 October 2012). "New music: Tove Lo – Love Ballad". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Carley, Brennan (23 June 2014). "Everything to Know About Tove Lo, Sweden's Newest Pop Sensation". Vulture. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d White, Caithlyn (26 March 2014). "Tove Lo: Swedish pop's Janis Joplin". Noisey. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Sanchez, Karizza (16 August 2015). "Tove Lo Talks Working With Legendary Producer/Songwriter Max Martin and Keeping Her Music Honest". Complex. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Truth Serum (liner notes). Tove Lo. Sweden: Universal Music Group. 2014. 060253776053. 
  7. ^ a b "Svepet: Nytt med Noonie Bao, Icona Pop, Tove Lo, Jade, Kanye West The Very Best" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio P3. 15 October 2012. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Tove Lo – Love Ballad". Musixmatch. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Cragg, Michael (4 April 2014). "Tove Lo – Stay High (Habits Remix) feat Hippie Sabotage: New music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Rubenstein, Holly (24 April 2014). "In Tove Lo Veritas". Interview. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  11. ^ Queen of the Clouds (liner notes). Tove Lo. United States: Universal Music Group. 2014. B0021923-01. 
  12. ^ a b "Introducing... Tove Lo". Scandipop. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  13. ^ Morris, Jacob (14 May 2014). "Tove Lo Talks Love, Music and 'Habits'". And Pop. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  14. ^ Buchanan, John D. "Tove Lo – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Savage, Mark (11 April 2014). "Tove Lo: A Swedish pop star in waiting". BBC News. Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  16. ^ "Bylarm 2014". Archived from the original on 27 March 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  17. ^ a b c "Tove Lo: Singer to love – Interview". Klap Magazine. 27 April 2013. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  18. ^ Thane, Rich (26 February 2014). "Listen: Tove Lo – 'Not On Drugs'". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "New music: Tove Lo – 'Habits'". Nu Wave Pony. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  20. ^ Chang, Richard S. (10 November 2014). "Top 5 Best Tove Lo Songs". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  21. ^ "Katy Perry's birthday suit and seven other songs you may have missed". Discopop. 11 April 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  22. ^ Rowlands, Geoffrey (2 June 2014). "Musical high for the 'saddest girl in Sweden'". Gulf Times. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  23. ^ "Tove Lo – Facebook". Facebook. 5 October 2012. Archived from the original on 21 December 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "Tove Lo – Love Ballad". YouTube. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  25. ^ "Video Premiere: Tove Lo – Love Ballad". Slack-Time. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  26. ^ "Musikhjälpen 2012: Tove Lo". Scandipop. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  27. ^ Thane, Rich (11 April 2013). "Listen: Tove Lo live in session for Sweden's P3 Radio". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  28. ^ O'Brien, George (3 April 2014). "Tove Lo and Kill J play joint debut London shows at Notting Hill Arts Club". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  29. ^ a b "Review: Tove Lo at Notting Hill Arts Club". Discopop. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  30. ^ Cragg, Michael (3 April 2014). "Tove Lo review – 'A punchy UK debut'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  31. ^ Bell, John (7 May 2014). "Tove Lo plays second UK gig at sold out Hoxton Bar & Kitchen". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  32. ^ Rhoades, Lindsey (2 October 2014). "Tove Lo – Webster Hall 10/1". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  33. ^ a b Maher, Amelia (2 April 2015). "Tove Lo: Live review". London in Stereo. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  34. ^ "Tove Lo omfamnar Slottsskogen i Göteborg" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio P3. 23 September 2015. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  35. ^ Batlle, Patricia (11 September 2015). "Tove Lo: Schwedisches Dynamit im Deutschen Theater" (in German). Norddeutscher Rundfunk. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 

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