Tove Lo & SG Lewis Bring the ‘HEAT,’ Obviously (Review)

The duo’s horny EP is a start-to-finish smash for sticky summer dance floors.

“I know you want me. Obviously.”

Tove Lo, historically, has not once faltered.

From the darker days filled with bad habits and broken hearts on Queen of the Clouds, to the horny depths of her Lady Wood, shaking her “Disco Tits” and pursing her experimental Blue Lips, sharing the dance floor with collaborators aplenty on Sunshine Kitty and boldly going independent with Dirt Femme, the 36-year-old Swedish superstar comes dependably armed with earnest emotion, pop hooks aplenty and lyrical themes of lust, self-destruction and joyous abandon, making her one of today’s top pop songwriters. (And lest we forget, she co-wrote Girls Aloud‘s “Something New” early into her career, for which we are forever grateful.)

SG Lewis, historically, has not once faltered.

From providing a mirror ball-encrusted glimmer of hope in the worst of times with 2021’s Times, to finding his footing on the music scene with everyone from Dua Lipa to Victoria Monét to Elton John, to flexing his artistic chops on AudioLust & HigherLove, the 29-year-old singer and producer has only continued to reliably provide sparkling four-to-the-floor anthems for romance and revelry on the dance floor.

It is perhaps to no one’s surprise then that when the two forces unite, magic strikes.

It’s a proven partnership, as demonstrated on 2022’s Dirt Femme with the euphoric “Call on Me” and cheeky “Pineapple Slice” (“I prepared for tonight, ate a pineapple slice for you…”), as well as last month’s “Love Bites” with freshly minted EDM festival queen Nelly Furtado, a flirty taste of what was to come in June.

HEAT, out Friday (June 14), is Tove and SG’s first formal collaborative project as a duo, with some additional production from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – and it better only be the start of an ongoing series. (Actually, it’s begging for an immediate return to the studio to round out the EP into a LP.)

Clocking in at a tight 15 and a half minutes, with all but one song passing the 3:30 mark – in 2024, imagine that! – HEAT is a start-to-finish slice of lust-fueled dance-pop perfection built for glassy-eyed flirting, spilled drinks and horny hip grips on sticky summer dance floors.

The cocky title track alone is an undeniable earworm, as charmingly teased for months by the two on social media, with SG adorably doing his best ally duties and lip syncing alongside the queer queen. “I know you want me. Obviously. I already know…,” Tove playfully taunts. “You can’t take the heat.

If “Let Me Go OH OH” brings a bit of Kylie‘s breathy ’00s Fever-era flirting to mind, there’s good reason: “We wanted to make something with a similar temperature as Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’…sexy, cool and hypnotic,” she explains. (It also serves as a good template for what should be the eventual meeting of the minds between the three – let’s go OH OH.)

“Busy Girl,” meanwhile, feels like the duo time-traveled back to 2007 to get their degree at Bodyrox & Luciana University, recalling “Yeah Yeah” and “What Planet You On,” and a touch of Chelly’s “Took the Night.” Tove says it’s written with “drag queens and sassy bitches” in mind, with SG adding that they wanted to “revive some of that 2000’s dirty electro-house like Fedde le Grand or Mason, and TEED & I had worked on the perfect instrumental together for that purpose.” It also slides in effortlessly with the Brat-ty attitude of this summer’s best release from Charli xcx.

I am good at what I do. Bitch, I’m better than you,” Tove repeatedly declares. No disagreements here!

And for a timeless final touch, Tove and SG channel a very specific feeling – a “90’s trance moment,” as SG describes – into “Desire,” an ethereal end of the EP, recalling acts like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren and whoever else showed up on Ayumi Hamasaki‘s old trance remix albums, with just a hint of Swedish melancholy.

“I wanted it to be really emotional, something that could be played at the end of the night. It felt like the perfect way to close off the EP,” SG adds.

With plenty of sass, seduction and strut-worthy pulsations, HEAT feels like the true collaborative middle ground between the duo’s musical output: SG lifts Tove into a brighter and bouncier soundscape, who in turn takes her friend’s pulsations to new heights with her knack for melodies, smart songcraft and uninhibited queer energy. The end result is a win for us all.

The accompanying age-restricted music video for “HEAT” is also the first of four to come from David Wilson, capturing the spirit of the EP.

“With this EP we wanted the visual aspect to reflect the free, open and sexy energy we’ve put into the music, surrounded by our queer fans who inspired us to make these songs. So we reached out to the amazing David Wilson, who’s very much a part of the queer community in London. He had free reign to create an environment, where we would all be feeling ourselves without being censored in anyway. It was honestly the most fun I’ve had at a shoot,” Tove says.

“We wanted the video to celebrate the queer community, and for the shoot itself to be a big sweaty party. Once we met David on Zom, we had full trust in his visions and gave him full creative control. Tove has gotten so good at DJ’ing, and we played B2B for a total of 4 hours, it was so much fun!” SG adds.

HEAT is a project consisting of 4 music videos, one for every song of the HEAT EP. The videos are strung together by the narrative of Ali, a protagonist that journeys through ‘Club Heat’, a fictional, queer London nightclub. Each video we shot was a different perspective on ‘Club Heat’; depicting the breadth of experiences in nightlife. The queer nightlife scene in London has fuelled and inspired me throughout my whole adult life, so I was beyond thrilled to be selected as the director to bring this to life. This is a depiction of queer London night life now: the queer scene in 2024, where the non-binary queer crowd is the predominant force. These are parties that organically house the diversity in queer spaces whilst also including the binary. Everyone is celebrated. The aim was to represent queer joy personified, uncensored and undiluted. Tove and SG were a dream to work with,” the director went on to explain.

They’re also such busy girls this summer, making the HEAT experience an immersive one, including a CLUB HEAT party in London last month, one last night in West Hollywood, and one still to come at Glastonbury Festival. Hydrate accordingly: between BRAT, HEAT and Club Shy, we’re going to be sweating all year long.

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Photo Credit: Nikola Lamburov

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