Robyn: Body Talk Pt. 1

RIYL: ABBA, Annie, Goldfrapp

No one in mainstream pop blends cutting-edge production flourishes with devastating hooks better than Robyn. You want to know what’s wrong with the major record labels in 2010? Don’t look at illegal file sharing, look at the fact that not one of them was able to turn her into a dancefloor-ruling superstar after her debut. More power to Robyn that she’s releasing her music on her own imprint and her own terms, but in the old days, talent like this was locked up, placed in indentured servitude, and used to make tons and tons of money. When Christina Aguilera recorded her silly Bionic, she wanted to be as cool as Robyn.


Compare Bionic with Body Talk Pt. 1 – supposedly the first of three Robyn releases this year – and you’ll hear how far Aguilera, and everyone else on the American pop scene, has to go. At just a blonde hair over half an hour, Body Talk covers more ground than most dance-pop singers manage to stake out in a career, from the trippy, spoken-murmured opener “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do” to the closing number, the Swedish traditional song “Jag Vet En Dejilg Rosa.” In between, you get the delicious champagne fizz of “Fembot” and the prom-theme-in-waiting “Cry When You Get Older” (suck it, Vitamin C!), plus a moody dance track (“Dancing on My Own”), a chilly slice of synth reggae (“Dance Hall Queen”), a space-age R√∂yksopp collaboration (“None of Dem”) and even a piano ballad for good measure (“Hang with Me”).

It’s smart, instantly addictive, and it’s over before it gets anywhere near wearing out its welcome. While Robyn’s imitators are busy copping her sound, they’re all missing the important part – it’s the songwriting, stupid – and if you aren’t a fan yet, then you’re missing out too. Time to correct the error of your ways. (Cherrytree/InterscopeKonichiwa 2010)

Robyn MySpace page


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