Will Tove Lo’s “Talking Body” Be 2015’s Song Of The Summer?
Slip on your shades, grab a glass of lemonade and check back each weekday over the next week as we present you each Song Of The Summer contender.
It feels like it’s been a while since pop has had a really good sex jam, but Tove Lo has ended the drought with “Talking Body.” You might also count Charli XCX‘s “Doing It,” which is either about dancing or doing it, and was released as a single around the same time early this year, but it failed to impact the charts in the US despite (because of?) the addition of a Rita Ora feature. The point is, Tove’s ode to mindless fucking is improbably sitting pretty at #12 on the Hot 100, with a real chance at cracking into single digits some two months after breaking into the Top 40. There’s also the 34 million views the video has racked up over the course of the year.
“Talking Body” is the second single off the Swedish singer’s debut album Queen Of The Clouds, and like the even bigger hit “Habits (Stay High),” it takes a few listens for the brilliance of the thing to sink in. In this case, the trick is that the song purely relies on the melody and lyrics to draw you in, rather than flashy production. The verses are almost devoid of bass, essentially just vocals and some percussive thwacks, and that stillness allows the chorus to really pop in contrast. But even the refrain isn’t smothered by a bunch of blown out synths and bass wobbles; there’s just a shimmering buzz and some pretty simple percussion as the hook does all the legwork.
As far as glossy pop songs about humping go, that’s a downright modest arrangement. And it’s refreshing, kind of giving it a Song Of The Summer: 2002 Edition feel (all that’s missing is a fade-out).
Tove has more or less said the song is about solving relationship problems with lust, effectively ignoring underlying issues as long as the sex is good. That’s not the brightest fare for a summer smash, but as we learned with Gotye, not every SOTS candidate has to be cheery. The track also slyly reverses the male gaze, focusing on the man’s body in the lyrics (“Now if we’re talking body / You got a perfect one / So put it on me”) and in the single art:
These are complicated issues for a summer hit! And it’s probably far too much to ask of a potential monocultural moment. Because we all know singability, not meaning, is paramount for Song Of The Summer candidates (see: “Happy,” “Blurred Lines,” “Call Me Maybe”). But that’s why “Talking Body” has a shot, because it’s so purely catchy — and that tasteful production draws the listener in rather than blasting them away, allowing the hook to burrow into the cortex.
Plus, never underestimate the power of young kids who want an excuse to belt out the F-word (remember Alanis?).
Do you think Tove Lo’s “Talking Body” could be 2015’s Song Of The Summer? Head down to the comments to let us know!