A month ago, Sydney-born singer-songwriter CXLOE achieved a significant milestone. Her electro-pop single, “Tough Love”, reached #1 on the Spotify Australia / New Zealand Viral Hits Chart. It’s an impressive feat considering the song was her debut. Could Australia have its version of Tove Lo, Halsey, or Ariana Grande? It’s too early to say, but “Tough Love”‘s success puts her on the accelerated path to pop stardom.
So what could the young artist do as a follow-up that would equally impress, if not amaze, her exploding legion of supporters while winning over new fans? The obvious answer would be to release another banger of a single, one made for late-night clubs and airplay on iHeartRadio. CXLOE, however, has done neither. Instead, she goes against the curve and opts to showcase a different side to her art, which is to strip down her hit single to its bare bones and unleash its emotion. Today, we have the privilege of sharing “Tough Love (Stripped)”.
Featuring just her vocals, a piano, and slight production work, CXLOE has turned the song into a stirring, heartbreaking number. Whereas on the original her voice was assertive, on this rendition they are vulnerable and emotive. Pain, anger, despair, and regret can be heard in her words. This take on “Tough Love” is stunning, and it sets up CXLOE to go in multiple ways for her second single. Hopefully, it will be something equally unpredictable yet memorable.
Both versions of the song – the original and the stripped – are provided below, so you can compare the two. If you enjoy what you hear, rate the song and leave a comment on CXLOE’s Triple J Unearthed page. In addition, read what she has to say about the song, and her remarks follow the audio.
The single is out now via young+vicious.
The story behind “Tough Love” by CXLOE
“’Tough Love’ was written from a place of angst and frustration. I’ve had this song boiling in me for a while. I have felt that my kindness gets mistaken for weakness, often leading to being underestimated and misjudged. So in essence, when it gets tough, get tougher. The stripped version of this song uncovers the vulnerability behind the lyrics and transforming all angst into hurt. I wanted to reveal a different side to not only me but the meaning behind the lyrics. As an artist, that is the most exciting part – getting to show the many sides of our complicated hearts and brains.”
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