photo by Emma Svensson
Maybe it’s the glacial run-off, but something in Sweden’s water seems to nurture brilliance in its female electro-pop singer-songwriters, from Robyn to Icona Pop to Tove Lo. The latest in a string of Swedish hitmakers to attempt a breakthrough in the United States shares a first name with the “Habits” singer; in fact, and she wants you to wear it out (it’s pronounced TOO-vah) on her latest single, “Say My Name.”
Swedish audiences first became familiar with Tove Styrke in 2009, when the singer was just sixteen and placed third on Swedish Idol. After releasing a high-octane self-titled LP in 2010, she reinvented herself for 2015’s Kiddo, favoring a more alt-pop approach and some definite feminist overtones. The album went platinum and earned her a Grammy nod in her home country, but with her first track since its release, Styrke makes a major bid for international success as well.
The minimal bounce of “Say My Name” certainly recalls The Knife’s “Heartbeats,” but blossoms quickly into an earworm in its own right with a plucky guitar line and a bombastic, beckoning bridge. When Styrke sings, “wear it out like a sweater that you love cause you can’t get enough,” she might as well be talking about the song itself; every element here seems primed to give listeners a major serotonin boost, much like discovering a new object of infatuation. Falling in love is a universal feeling that Stryke captures best with the line “You speak my lingo, we don’t need no translation;” with her track fostering a new obsession, we have to agree wholeheartedly.